Muscat: Muscat Municipality is trying to resolve the issues related to the housing of single expatriate workers, in residential neighbourhoods, by new townships near industrial areas. In a monthly report, Municipality Muscat said it is coordinating with the Ministry of Housing for the allocation of land to build a workers’ city through private bidding.
“Realizing their contribution to development, especially in the construction sector, efforts must be made to provide suitable accommodation with all facilities”. Other immediate measures include having a section in the lease agreement, where the use of the problem is to be mentioned, whether it is for families or bachelors.
The Muscat Municipal Council, in recent times, too discussed the need for tougher laws to regulate housing for single expatriate workers. The report adds that citizens who own the property is also partially responsible to ensure that they do not give shelter to single expatriate workers.
The residents of the area should notify of such problems for the municipality to directly take legal action against violators. The tenants who use the property to house single expatriates without the knowledge of the owner is also responsible for violations.
Muscat Municipality has been making efforts to reduce this problem through periodical inspection by its officers. It may be noted that a large number of single expatriate workers are residing without lease documents as municipality does not register lease agreement for single expatriates in residential areas.
In some cases, the lease is registered as a family residence but shared by expatriates in large numbers without the municipality’s knowledge. The report added that economic progress and the process of urban development have led to an increase in the number of expatriates.
According to the latest statistics, there are more than 1.9 million expatriates in the country (42 per cent), which calls for an urgent need to provide housing for these workers, especially in Muscat.
One of the main problems faced because of workers’ housing in residential areas is the sharing of the accommodation, often exceeding the actual capacity of the apartments, the report said.
The arrival of single expat workers to such areas leads to problems such as overcrowding and disturbances, the report said. With the real estate market facing a crisis due to low demand and mushrooming of new buildings, apartment owners face a dilemma.
“Earlier, I used to not give my flats to any single bachelors because of the pressure from families. These days as it is difficult to find right tenants and we have little options,” said a property owner in CBD, Ruwi.
According to Article 31 (D) of Local Order 23/92 on the regulation of buildings in the Governorate of Muscat stipulates no housing complexes or buildings shall be allowed as the residence of workers or bachelors.
At the same time, Article 101 of the Local Order says, “no building shall be constructed or used except for which the permit was issued and consistent with the usage category and the planning structure of the area.”