Property fees row in key Dubai development escalates

A group of property investors in a key development in Dubai have taken their complaints about what they regard as unsuitable service and maintenance fees to the office of the Ruler of the Emirate.

The owners in the massive Discovery Gardens development are so fed up with a lack of regard for their grievances that they have presented a petition to the office of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

They are seeking a reduction in upcoming service and maintenance fees for their community. They have already complained to Dubai’s property market regulator, the Dubai Real Estate Regulatory Agency.

The group, which comprises about 90 people who own a 130 apartments between then in the 26,000 unit community, said they said were spurred into action after receiving information that Nakheel, Discovery Gardens’s master developer, had recently asked Rera’s permission to charge Dh21.85 a square foot in fees, which comes to more than Dh20,000 for a typical one bedroom apartment.

They believe that Nakheel is not only overcharging but has also failed to provide basic maintenance. Many complain they have had little help with broken air conditioners and clogged toilets, forcing some to use facilities at the nearby mall.

The group states that they would like the Ruler’s office to be ‘aware of the problems people are facing when they buy property here’ and say they need to highlight the frustrations of homeowners who are severely disappointed with their properties.

‘We’re not trying to be radicals or troublemakers here. We’re just trying to get what we invested in. We bought into the Dubai dream, and it’s in our interest and the interest of the authorities that that is realised,’ explained group spokesman Michael Aldendorff.

A spokesman for Nakheel said it was not responsible for determining some of the disputed fees and that they were calculated ‘to ensure that owners receive the best service for their fees,’. He would not disclose how much it intended to charge for the upcoming year, or whether it had proposed the disputed amount to Rera.

The property owners also want a freeze on all payments related to maintenance, community and cooling charges for the next financial year until a suitable and acceptable rate has been agreed between Rera, Nakheel and themselves.

They also argue that fees on similar development are much lower than Discovery Gardens. For example, while they pay Dh10.35 a square foot for building maintenance charges alone, owners in the Jumeirah Beach Residence and the Dubai Marina, areas boasting a wider array of community facilities, paid approximately Dh8.30.


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