DUBAI //Owners of 160 dilapidated buildings in Bur Dubai and Deira have been told to repair their properties within two weeks or face the wrecking ball.
Dubai Municipality said it would tear down the abandoned buildings and force owners to bear the costs if they failed to act before the stipulated deadline.
Landlords of rundown buildings, houses and yards who do not respond within two weeks will have their structures brought down without their consent.
"The municipality already warned land owners to act within two weeks from the date of declaration [given in the municipality notice] by executing maintenance and closing the doors," said Jaber Al Ali, head of the Buildings Inspection Section. The notices were issued after inspections by the civic body.
This is part of the municipality's continuing clean-up drive and, in the past six months, more than 500 buildings have been demolished in the emirate.
Officials said dilapidated buildings were an eyesore and a magnet for crime. In October, police said these buildings were being used for illegal activities such as drug and substance abuse, and sexual assault. The municipality sends registered letters to land owners asking them to carry out repairs after police patrols spot an abandoned house.
Mr Ali said the onus was on owners to make sure that the doors were bolted to prevent outsiders from entering the buildings.
"Most of the owners have already co-operated with the municipality to carry out maintenance and renovation of houses, but some owners are suffering from problems relating to inheritance, and some buildings are waiting for [court] judgment," said Mr Al Ali.
Owners would have to pay the authority for demolition and an additional 20 per cent for administrative expenses. The cost of tearing down a building is measured per square foot and depends on the location.
If owners fail to pay for demolition, development of the land is frozen and other businesses they own may also be affected. Owners can be granted an extension if they submit supporting documents. They can rebuild on the demolished land after adhering to stringent guidelines laid down by the municipality.