The head of the Razavi Khorasan Builders Association has sounded the alarm over a sudden proliferation of makeshift homes on the rooftops of the city of Mashhad. This urban phenomenon, he said, is the result of the steep rise in house prices that has blighted Iran over the past few years.
"Unfortunately,” Mahmoud Pejoum told ILNA News Agency, “due to the financial crisis and the increase in house prices – and consequently, the relegation of people to the outskirts of the city – we are now facing the issue of ‘roof-space sales’.
“This usually happens in unregistered buildings sold through power of attorney. Some people take advantage of the unhealthy economic situation to sell roof-space on top of their buildings.”
The head of the provincial builders’ association said rooftop homes are unevenly distributed across the city, and most commonly seen in a handful of core “problem” areas. “Second Tabarsi Boulevard and Seyedi are among the locations where this is happening,” he said, “due to the size and population density. Also the area around the Abkooh Sugar Factory, on Janbaz Street, is a hotspot for roof-space sales. The majority of the violations are taking place in these areas.”
Roof space is considered part of a residential building’s communal area. The owners of these complexes may illegally sell or sub-let roof space after selling all of the formal residential units to turn a bigger profit. According to a report published in September 2019, a 100 square meter portion of roof space in some areas of Mashhad can cost up to a 100 million tomans [$4,000].