Dubai Municipality backtracking on One Villa, One Family Policy

As the going gets tough in Dubai, most of the expats are left with only two choices, send their families back and live a bachelor life in Dubai or pack up completly and return home. Before the job cuts, credit crunch and recession, what made expats miserable was the infamous policy of “One Villa, One Family”.

The policy, implemented by Dubai Municipality, was to ensure that only a single family lives in a villa, compared to usual practice of 4-5 families sharing a villa, with each family occupying a single room in the premises. While the idea, as advertised by the authorities, was to ease congestion in buildings and to eradicate safety hazzards, most expats took this policy as the tool to push residents towards the new developments which were not getting rented as expats preferred to stay in shared accomodations to cut costs. However, the policy saw thousands of people living in low-income areas of Dubai having water and electricity supplies cut

Now, with expats returning back to their homes in flight loads, authorities in Dubai are re-considering their policy of One Villa, One Family.

Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director General of the Dubai Municipality, says there is no law of “One Villa, One Family” in Dubai.

He said the campaign was targeted against high numbers of people living in villas meant for smaller numbers. He explained that overcrowding puts pressure on civic service and also created security and safety problems.

He said the municipality did not have any problem with more than one family living in a villa, provided it was big enough.


“But let me clarify here as well that tenants and landlords cannot decide on this issue, because many landlords, especially real estate agents, are greedy and try to make more money by renting villas to a maximum number of people.

“Families sharing a villa have to seek permission from the municipality to know whether a villa is big enough to accommodate a certain number of people,”

Here are some of the comments made on this topic covered at Khaleej Times:

This is a too late decision by the municipality when they have upsetted most of the expiates here in Dubai. It is like a joke now when most of the villas are going vacant and the owners of the villas do not have resource to pay back their bank loans and meet their lively hood, then withdrawing such “one Villa One Family” campaign is meaningless. They should have done their homework properly than the spot decision to upset all the families and take their curses then to change is not a good practice. What compensation that the municipality going to give to the affected families who had to flee their villas when the authority disconnected their facilities and all the people of the villas were thrown out with small children and ladies with no time to spare. Are they going to pay for the mental agony and discomforts??- Venu, Dubai.

I left living in a villa due to this rule and now I am paying almost double than what I used to pay in a villa sharing. I was living in a quite clean and not very much overcrowded villa in Rashidiya but still I was afraid of DEWA supply cut so I left with my family from that place. Now we can see that people leaving UAE due to financial crisis and businesses are going down therefore authorities thought it would be better to stop people by again giving them cheap accommodation by this decision. Later on when there will be boom again we might see this decision going other way round. – Naeem, Dubai.

75% of middle class families are already decided to pack their family back to their home country. Thousands of people have been made homeless due to the ‘One Villa, One Family’ campaign, these decision would have come 3- 4 months before. – Rasheed, Al Quoz.


Where are these low-income flats in Al Qusais?? The average price of a new 1BHK flat is going at AED85K per annum; even “Wasl” charges approx the same rent for a new flat there. Either the DM is unaware of ground realities or these “private and government developers” are over-charging the tenants! Low-income housing in Dubai was a reality 20-years back, now it’s simply a myth for the common man. – Ray Joey, Dubai .

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