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Bar only for specific types of bachelors.

Muscat: As it braces for its crackdown on bachelors living in residential areas, Muscat Municipality has clarified that "only certain categories of bachelor expatriates, and not all" would be targeted. While doctors, engineers and other highly educated and professional expatriates living without families could continue to rent flats or villas, labourers won't be allowed to do so, a senior official told Times of Oman. Muscat Municipality issued a circular last week to regulate the number of bachelor expatriates living in residential and commercial areas. "The Municipal Council is currently studying the legal sides of the law as it will come up with some suggestions including specifying certain categories of expatriate bachelors in the law," Salim Al Ghammari, a Municipal Council member said. A reliable Muscat Municipality source also said that the word "bachelor" in the circular refers only to expatriate bachelors, not Omanis. "The law targets the expatriate bachelors though the municipality is currently studying the issue of Omani bachelors too," said the source. "The move comes following complaints from families alleging that bachelors living in residential areas indulge in crimes and other violations," the source said. The circular issued by the municipality also makes it mandatory for the landowners to make clear in rental contracts whether they are renting out their properties to families or bachelors. Muscat Municipality is moving ahead to crack down on landlords who allow bachelors to share flats, he said while adding that Muscat Municipality will not approve any contract that fails to specify the nature of the rental agreement. Landlords found violating law will have to pay fines "Any landlord who violates the rule will have to pay fines. Landlords must make it clear how the properties will be used," said the source. According to the circular, if a company or an individual rents out a property, the contract should clearly state that it will be used for accommodation for families. Rules for rent However, bachelors will not be allowed to live in buildings, villas or houses that have been rented out to families. The circular also specifies rules for renting out houses to students in Muscat. Meanwhile, Muscat Municipality, as part of the inspection team along with the Royal Oman Police and the Ministry of Manpower plans to intensify inspection in areas where bachelor expatriates live. "The Muscat Municipality is making extra effort to crack down on bachelors living in residential areas by sharing or living alone due to increased complaints from neighbours," said the source. Ali Al Rahbi, a Wadi Kabir resident said, "The main problem with bachelors living in residential area is crimes." He added that his neighbourhood had witnessed a spate of crimes as a large number of bachelors live here in flats and villas. Stricter penalties "We want stricter penalties for anyone renting his property to bachelors," he said, while stressing that both tenants and owners must be penalised. On the other hand, several landlords have urged the Muscat Municipality to provide them with a deadline for evacuation of bachelors. "Muscat Municipality must impose a deadline for landlords to evacuate bachelors," Mohammed Khalfan, a landlord, said, pointing that such law cannot be implemented in a day. "The law makes it clear that no contract will be approved by the municipality unless the nature of the rental agreement is specified. But in some cases landlords might need to approve rental contracts in this month and it is hard for them to evacuate their property in such short period of time," said Mohammed Khalfan. Residency law makes it mandatory for landlords to inform the tenants at least three months in advance when deciding to evacuate the property. "Actually we do not know what to do. Muscat Municipality should clarify about it and set a deadline for evacuation of bachelors," Mohammed noted. "The municipality will take necessary action in case of receiving any complaint from families regarding the presence of bachelors in these areas," the Muscat Municipality source said. To get in touch with the reporter:

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Publication:Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman)
Date:May 17, 2014
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