Owning it: Empowering Owner’s Association
When will developers take a step back and empower owner associations?
December 11, 2011 6:14 by Eva Fernandes
The long drawn out saga of the painfully slow implementation of the homeowners association in Dubai has always been a subject of conversation here at Kipp. We also tend to talk about the poor maintenance renters have to tolerate here in build-it-big, build-it-quick Dubai. And so this story on the inability of homeowner associations to deal poor maintenance shouldn’t be too much of a stretch for the average Kipp reader’s imagination.
We are talking of course of the case of those residents on the rather schmancy Golden Mile 1 to 4 on the Palm Jumeirah who were left without water for five hours because some residents had failed to pay up to DEWA (Dubai Electricity and Water Authority) service charges.
Understandably more than a few were upset. Golden Mile 3 resident Dounia Baha told Gulf News: “I pay all my bills on time so Dewa has no right to deprive me of these services. I think this is their way of putting pressure on those who have not paid their service charges yet.”
Now Gulf News has been following this story closely the last few weeks and they have reported of the various threats issued by DEWA on their past two visits. During those visits the owner’s association, Novus Community Management, were able to stagger the imminent threats from DEWA. But they weren’t as lucky the third time around. Alastair McCracken, chief executive officer of Novus Community Management said: “Representatives of the developer stepped in to make the payment soon after learning of Dewa’s actions. Power to this single meter was reconnected by 2.30pm.”
Interestingly efforts by the association to prevent the cut-off from power and electricity were ignored until the developer stepped in. It would seem that even after this tiring long struggle the homeowner associations have had with the developers to become the powerful bastion of tenants and homeowners’ rights they were intended to be, the fact remains the organisation is still pretty toothless.
Nobody put it better than Graham Yeates, Head of Owners Association Management, Cluttons who said: “I don’t think there is a genuine attempt being made to hand over to the owners. As other revenue streams dry up, developers see the opportunity of making a profit from service charges/interim owners association (IOA) so there is little incentive to register the owners association as required by the regulations.”
With the ever ailing property sector on its knees, Kipp can’t help but wonder when will real estate developers put their greedy short sightedness ways behind them and enable tenants and home owners to be in control of the place they spent thousands upon thousands to secure.