The Dubai Municipality first introduced the 'One Villa - One Family' rule in April 2008, stipulating that villas should have only single-family occupancy. The publicly-stated goal of the new measures was to ensure safer and better living conditions in the Emirate.
The Director General of Dubai Municipality, Hussain Nasser Lootah, told reporters that the Municipality has begun the campaign to combat the over-crowding of villas that compromises the safety of residents.
The new rules also aim to track down unmarried couples living together, since in the UAE and Dubai it is against the law for non-related men and women to cohabit if they are not married.
The One Villa - One Family rule applies not only to families living together, but also to large groups of bachelors living in the same house, who reportedly sometimes cohabit as many as 10 or 20 per room. The campaign includes measures to move all bachelors out of villas, especially those living in family residential areas. In the past couple of years many bachelors living in residential areas designated for families have been given one month notice to leave the area. Municipal inspectors have been handing out eviction notices to single men residing in family villas in areas such as Salaama, Eisa, Shaabiya, Frij Mualla, Hamriya.
To convince residents of the merits of the campaign, the Municipality has threatened to disconnect the utilities of villas where tenants had refused to follow eviction orders. In 2008, about 4,000 villas were issued eviction notices, while the water and electricity connection of nearly a dozen of the villas have been cut for violating the One Family - One Villa rule in Dubai. Mr. Hussain Nasser Lootah commented, saying "Depending on the size of the villa, five to eight people in a villa is acceptable, but not 20 to 30 people."
In 2010, the Dubai Municipality issued 7,000 fines for violations of building rules. These were mostly for violations of the single family rule, as inspectors discovered large number of singles living in residential neighborhoods and significant number of cases of more than one family living in the same house.
The Municipality will introduce a new electronic tracking system this year, which will help inspectors to do their job, even from off-site, by simplifying procedures and speeding up transactions. The new e-system will contain data pertaining to all of a building's documents, certifications, licenses, land data and records from Institutions and Departments operating in Dubai.