ABU DHABI // A glitch in the municipality’s property registration system has stopped hundreds of people from moving into new homes.
Long queues have formed all day at the Tawtheeq offices for more than a week, with many people having to return the next day, and some for days after.
The Tawtheeq network, which registers all properties and rental contracts, has been delayed for more than a week due to problems with introducing a new computer system.
Abu Dhabi Municipality officials acknowledge there have been problems but did not explain what they were.
People cannot have utilities switched on, apply for a Mawaqif parking permit or place their children in a school without a Tawtheeq stamp on their tenants’ contract.
Modassir Hussain, from Pakistan, signed for a new flat a week ago but on Wednesday was still not able to move in.
“For more than a week I have been visiting the municipality for Tawtheeq,” Mr Hussain said.
“I am not sure whether it would be done today or not.
“I came here at 5.30am and performed fajr prayers at the municipality mosque. At 8am I was given token No 205. Then the municipality stopped giving out tokens by 9am.
“I took a new flat but couldn’t shift in due to a lack of electricity and water connections.
“I signed the contract on February 22 but still I couldn’t move in there. I have to stand in a very long queue even very early in the morning.”
Tawtheeq registers property documents and tenancy contracts and helps to regulate the real estate market through collection of this data.
Residents who visited the centre said the new computer system would not accept new entries. Some said the system had been down since February 20.
“We were told the municipality changed from an old Tawtheeq system to a new one to make it easier for people, but the transition from old to new wasn’t prepared properly,” said Bassam Mohammed, from Lebanon.
“Today I came in at 7.30am and was given No 173, but at 12.30pm I am still waiting for my turn. It’s now token No 100, so I’m not sure about my turn.
“On Tuesday I came at 6.15am and got token No 11. They should have fixed it during weekend or told the people in advance. I started coming to the municipality last Thursday and still it is not done.”
Some large real estate companies can complete the Tawtheeq process themselves, but one agent said their system had been down and they had lost business.
“I have lost many tenants who paid a booking fee for villas and we promised them we could complete the contract in one week, but we couldn’t,” Mr Mohammed said.
Emirati landlord Saeed Al Aamri said he had been unable to lease out his property as promised to his tenant.
“There is a new system and that is why it’s delayed,” Mr Al Aamri said. “I am unable to lease out my property due this delay. I went to the municipality at 6.15am and got a token No 130 but still I was waiting for my turn at 12.30pm.”
An Omani national, Ali Al Badi, said: “Yesterday people came and they couldn’t get their work done. I have to come today and it’s completed. But it took too much time,from 7.30am to 12.30pm.”
The municipality declined to comment on the issue.