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The great maintenance mess

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

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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  1. Ronald on July 21, 2010 9:35 am

    wow… tallest building, man made island, biggest malls, everything is superlative, i guess Dumb landlords and overpriced maintenance comes with the territory…

    it would have been better if Dubai spread sideways than upwards… at least maintaining the air cons would not have been so expensive.

  2. Biverly Black on July 22, 2010 1:16 pm

    The writer suggests the Unit should revert to the development owner. This is not possible and is the purpose of the Jointly Owned Property Law, as now “the development owner” is the Owners Association. Ultimately the Unit can be auctioned and the funds used to clear the service charge arrears and costs after due course of law has been followed and the approval of RERA obtained.

  3. Mike on July 27, 2010 8:21 am

    Maintenance fees has always been questionable. Fees range from AED 8/- to AED 11/- or more per square foot. Which if calculated on an apartment size of 1000 sqft. is AED 10,000/-, thats more than your DEWA bill or your monthly fuel budget per month!


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