x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

'Drastic' cut in charges for services

Ali Rashid Ahmed Lootah, the chairman of Nakheel, said his employees are negotiating with service providers to lower the price for residents living in the company's communities. The new fees would be unveiled within months.

Nakheel is planning to announce a "drastic reduction" in service charges for residents living in the company's communities as it tries to improve its operations and focus on the quality of its developments.

Ali Rashid Lootah, the chairman of Nakheel, said yesterday his employees were negotiating with service providers to lower the price. The new fees would be unveiled within months.

"This is part of the cultural change at Nakheel," he said. "We are negotiating and renegotiating again with service providers."

Service charges, the fees paid to developers for the upkeep of jointly owned properties such as lifts, landscaping and lobbies, have been a bone of contention in Dubai over the past two years.

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The property regulators are overseeing a transition from fees being paid directly to developers towards a system where each building has a homeowner association that hires its own service providers. The so-called Strata Law that provides for this change has come into effect officially, but many developers have yet to comply with its requirements.

Residents of projects across the emirate have complained about service charges in the tens of thousands of dirhams without adequate disclosure as to how that money is being spent.

At some buildings, default rates for maintenance fee payments are as high as 75 per cent, Strata managers say. However, a homeowner association will have the power to seize the homes of owners who refuse to make payments. Mr Lootah said Nakheel would use the law against owners who refused to make payments.

"We will recover this," he said. "There's a mechanism in the law to deal with this."

He said Nakheel was working to improve the quality of its developments around Dubai by focusing on the "details" now that its restructuring was nearing completion. On Palm Jumeirah, for instance, work was progressing on a new park. A landscape architect would be hired soon to design "something very special".

 

bhope@thenational.ae