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Our raids follow proper procedures: Muscat Municipality
August 22, 2019 | 10:47 AM
by Times News Service
Photos - @M_Municipality/Twitter
 
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Muscat: Muscat Municipality has said that it only carries out raids on expat homes in order to deal with municipal violations in accordance with correct legal procedures.

A statement from Muscat Municipality read "While the municipality assures everyone that it monitors the use of buildings, raids against residences are in line with proper procedures, which first require a complaint to the concerned directorate to be filed, informing them of the violation and asking permission to carry out a raid and inspect the residence.

“Muscat Municipality reaffirms that these practices, such as single expat workers living in residences designated for families, are not legal and threaten the safety of society and Omani citizens. The monitoring of buildings and expat worker housing continues to intensify and any concerns about procedures not being followed can be reported,” the statement added.

Single expat workers are not allowed to live in residential areas registered for families, as per Article 31 of Municipal Order 23/1992, which says that expat workers can be housed in industrial areas and that worker residences can be built for workers on large pieces of land designated for camps.



Photos - @M_Municipality/Twitter


However, “Worker complexes or housing for single workers may not be built in residential areas or mixed residential and commercial areas and a building that allows for both families and single people may not be built,” stipulates the law.



Adding to Article 101 of the same law, a building can only be used for the purpose for which it has been built and in a manner that is in line with the area plan. According to the municipality, “The increasing phenomenon of single expat workers living in residential neighbourhoods is a social concern and it can affect the social construct of society by enabling practices unknown to society to occur which are contrary to religious and moral values. Furthermore, they can lead to an increase in crimes involving the harassment of women and children.”

One of the reasons for the occurrence of this phenomenon, according to the municipality, is due to Omani land owners neglecting to correctly register their contracts.

“Some apartment and building owners rent their buildings to a large number of expat workers without a contract and some register the contract as a family residence when it is not used as such. With the help of field employees and the cooperation of citizens, the municipality is able to begin legal procedures against violators in accordance with the process,” said the municipality.

The municipality reminded owners that registering rent contracts properly works in their favour and can legally protect them against damages.

“Registering rent contracts is good for the leaser, who is protected by the law from cases in which the person renting the residence then sub-leases to others and it also stops the renter from transferring the contract without the leaser’s permission. It can also protect the owner in case the residence is misused by the person renting it,” said Muscat Municipality.

“As for procedures for violations regarding living arrangements for expat workers: Violators are found via field work, which begins with a summons being issued for a violation,” the organisation added. “Following this, the owner of the estate is called in and told to vacate the estate within a short amount of time. If he is able to do this, then the violation is annulled and he must pay a fine and sign an agreement not to repeat the violation."

The municipality went on to say: “If the owner of the estate is not compliant, the matter is taken to judicial authorities, after which a file is compiled by the municipality by issuing the summons for questioning to the owner and the workers who live at the estate in question in order for the

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