In the previous article in this series, Kelly covered censorship, issues related to the immigrant work force, passport security, and several personal and digital conveniences. Click here to go back and read "Dubai: The View From Inside, Part 1."
In the non-freehold area, all property is owned by Locals and rented out. The rates have quadrupled in the last few years, and the government doesn’t seem to willing to clamp down on their free enterprise. Rents can change at the whim of the landlord, and in recent months have doubled with less then 1 written days notice. If you refuse to pay the rent, then you must vacate or take the landlord to the housing board. The housing board is a losing proposition for you before it begins. As you must put up Dh 5000 ($1500) to have your case heard and crafty landlords have lots of loopholes to get you out of the building and get a higher paying tenant.
Sub-letting is illegal in all rental agreements and therefore every “sharing” arrangement is illegal. If there is a dispute with the landlord, the tenant is always on the wrong side of the deal, because you are not in a legal arrangement. Because all rental contracts are stamped and no changes or amendments are allowed, you have no legal standing.
More to the fact, the discussion is that Dubai doesn’t want affordable housing ~ it desires its brand to be at the “exclusive” end of the spectrum. Therefore the middle to low income residents are driven into outlying Emirates to secure housing, and the migrant workers and the labor camps are being shifted outside of the Emirate which then will lead to 2 hours in a non-air conditioned bus.
Many of the cars on the road are uninsured and the driving test needs a severe overall. If you are maimed or killed while in Dubai, your family is compensated by “blood money”, which is paid by the family or person who has caused you damage or death. A wage earning man is worth more then a woman or a child. A camel and a man are worth the same. Most of the blood money claims are in the area of Dh 100,000 ($27,000) to Dh 5,000 ($1300).
The Emirate has an influx of Russian and Chinese women who receive health cards from the Ministry and openly ply their “business”. This makes Dubai attractive to out of town men who can come and “relax” in the open environment of this Emirate. Despite the openness of the availability, the hotel security staff maintains a tight control on the number of working women in the bar. In many places they work in conjunction with the bar management and receive a portion of the high end liquor sales, such as champagne.
The city is safe for men and women alike and the crime rate is extremely low because the punishment is severe and includes fines, jail time and oftentimes deportation. But, the police department is a very dicey place to find yourself, as many of the staff don’t have a complete grasp of English, and communication misunderstandings can and do occur, which could have poor consequences for you. The Embassies and Consulates are not the place to run to for your protection, as they too are guests in this country and no matter what is the stamp on the outside of your passport ~ they are little more then paper pushers.
Even with this bad news, the country is an open door of opportunity for business enterprises and real estate investments. The government has done incredible work in creating a world brand out of a barren patch of desert. Those that come here, do so because of the opportunities because those same opportunities don’t exist in their home country.
Dubai is intent on business at the “speed of light”. Therefore, some of the shortcomings which I have outlined will be corrected as Dubai wants to be a star on the world stage and to have that coveted role, they will have to prove they are worthy of the part.
The existence of Dubai today is proof that they are capable of the task and InshaAllah the next few years will be witness to more incredible growth and development of the other parts of the civilization which make up a world class city.
Excerpted and adapted from the ebook "The Insider's Guide to Living in Dubai, UAE" by Kelly M. Barker.