The great maintenance mess
Landlords blame developers, developers blame landlords, and tenants are stuck paying the price. Sam Potter is not amused by the current property situation.
July 20, 2010 4:18 by kippreport
But before that wider question is the issue of current disputes. It’s easy to dismiss this issue; after all, it’s not happening to us, is it? But the thing is, in a town with such a high percentage of renters, there is a real fear it could happen to anyone. Imagine if you go home this evening to find your family sweltering in 40 degrees plus, because the landlord you signed a contract with just a couple of months ago is in dispute with the building owner. What would be your reaction?
In my view, the government should step in to ensure that innocent tenants receive the services and facilities to which they are entitled. They must insist that development owners do not cut off basic services to legitimately leasing tenants.
Before you say it, you are right – yes, this would reduce the incentive on landlords and developers to sort out the mess. That is why the government must take further steps. Landlords should be forced to meet the terms they agreed when they bought properties, and if they can no longer afford to, the property should be turned over to the development owner, who could resell it with a sitting tenant (for the duration of their remaining contract) to recoup maintenance costs. In such a scenario, the profits from the flat would also have to repay the tenant’s security deposit when it comes time for them to leave.
So landlords pay, or they lose their flats. (Of course, if a landlord can prove that a developer has unreasonably increased maintenance fees, they should be asked to pay what was originally agreed.) Development owners are paid, or they get assets in compensation. Tenants keep their homes for the duration of their contracts, get their deposits back at the end, and all the while have nice cool air con.
In the meantime, while all this is organized, the government must insist that basic services such as utilities continue to be provided to tenants, who are the innocent parties in all this. With a Dubai summer bearing down on us all, it becomes more important than ever.
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