Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 16 October 2019

Homefront: 'My off-plan property is overdue by 10 years'

The Abu Dhabi buyer was told the home would be handed over a year ago

The UAE resident has been struggling to get a response from the developer on the cause of the handover delay. Delores Johnson / The National
The UAE resident has been struggling to get a response from the developer on the cause of the handover delay. Delores Johnson / The National

I have a property in Abu Dhabi, that is 10 years overdue for delivery. I decided not to cancel the contract as the developer offered me some credit notes, which were around in 2009. Even when they decided to put the price up by around Dh175,000 for being over the original size, I stuck with the property.

In May last year I was advised the property was finished and would be handed over in June of that year. I met the developer's representative and viewed my own property, even going inside, I was told that no snagging would be done until the final payment had been made. I therefore completed the payment after being assured that handover would happen (even the company's website says June 2018).

However, a year on and the handover has still not happened. I have sent emails and formal letters to both the head of this company and the head of the parent holding company, which all went unanswered. I have heard there is now a court case of sorts. At one point I was given a number to call, but that never gets answered. I have heard rumours from various estate agents that progress has been made and it is "all good" but no one has any idea what that progress is. How can I find out what is happening? I have now lost a year's rental in addition to having a property that I am unable to sell. LD, Abu Dhabi

You certainly have been on an epic journey in trying to get your property, even though it appears the situation is not quite over just yet.

With reference to credit notes, in the past developers would issue these tokens as a means to compensate their buyers if they were not able to deliver the project. Also, with your "oversize" issue, some developers would also request more money for a property that after handover turned out to be bigger than stated on the Sales and Purchase agreement. This practice is now not allowed.

Getting information from the actual developer is the only way forward but I would not just call or email but actually pay a visit to their offices (assuming they are still in operation). This way you will hopefully get some more concrete information, rather than relying on rumours from estate agents in the market.

If this proves difficult, visit the Abu Dhabi Municipality, which will undoubtedly steer you into the right direction especially if there is a court order of sorts on this project.

If the developer or its representative has confirmed that June last year was the handover date and you have witnessed the unit by a visit, I’m sure you are almost at the end of this long journey. You have now paid out 100 per cent and therefore the developer has a legal obligation to hand it over to you.

Developers do get involved in disputes with all sorts of entities and individuals especially contractors and defaulting buyers and this often does lead to further delays for everyone. However, by visiting the developer directly, they cannot ignore you and I’m sure the Municipality will be of assistance too.

Mario Volpi is the sales and leasing manager at Engel & Volkers. He has worked in the property sector for 35 years in London and Dubai

The opinions expressed do not constitute legal advice and are provided for information only. Please send any questions to mario.volpi@engelvoelkers.com

Updated: June 26, 2019 03:02 PM

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