x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Tenants want their new Abu Dhabi homes in good order

Owner and tenants in Al Muneera are to host a community meeting to address resident concerns at the new development.

ABU DHABI // Within weeks of moving into his brand-new flat in May, Assad Dualeh noticed dark patches of mould forming around the air-conditioning unit.

There was also a lot of condensation on the doors and around the air-conditioning vents.

Mr Dualeh persistently called the company that maintains his rented apartment in Al Muneera development to do something about it - their response was to spray paint over the mould.

"That is not acceptable," said Mr Dualeh, an Emirati. "You cannot just paint over mould. And for the last three weeks there has been no action."

CS, a Greek housewife, bought her flat in Al Muneera. This summer she also had mould but was told she would have to temporarily move her family of four to a hotel so the apartment could be treated with chemicals.

"This was after I was fed up with the crooked ceiling, the cracked walls, the humidity causing leaks everywhere," she said. "My house is falling apart."

Several residents of the community in Al Raha Beach, many of whom have moved into the Aldar-run complex in the past six months, said they had been disappointed by the development, which had been billed as one of the premier locations in the capital.

At a community meeting tonight, dozens of owners and tenants hope to air grievances about problems they say include leaks and flooding, poor construction and unresponsive maintenance personnel.

"We are always keen to listen to residents and work together with them to address any concerns they may have," said Sameer Barakat, the head of residential property management at Aldar Properties.

"As with the launch of any new development there have been some finishing issues at Al Muneera, and Aldar's community and project teams at Al Muneera continue to work hard to address them as quickly as possible."

Al Muneera consists of eight apartment buildings with 1,286 flats, 148 townhouses and 11 villas.

A canal splits the mainland side from an island, and a waterfront shopping parade is expected to open soon. The development also includes a 12-storey office building.

While many residents are still hoping the issues can be corrected, several said they were thinking of moving out or taking legal action.

"If they do not do anything, I will consider going to the municipality and filing a case," said Mr Dualeh.

"I understand that there is definitely a learning curve but they first have to admit that there has been a mistake. Let's just get the problems solved."

In some flats, maintenance workers have installed small tile barriers in the showers to stop water flooding under the door after residents complained.

Jimmy Tampubolon said he had made repeated attempts to get his fixed but was told his tenant warranty did not cover the repair.

"This is just ridiculous," said Mr Tampubolon, an Indonesian with a four-bedroom flat. "Next year I think I will move out. If this issue is not fixed, why should I stay?"

This week CS, 42, noticed her kitchen cabinets were warped after a leak from the dishwasher. She is worried because she owns her flat.

"Do I have any options here?" she asked. "If it was not ours, I would have moved out by now. I am hoping in a few months these problems will be fixed but I am thinking that no one is listening to us."

Several residents said they did not plan to attend the community meeting. "Why would I attend when all residents will do is nag?" Mr Dualeh said.

Another community meeting planned by Aldar is scheduled for this month for some residents.

"I do not know if it will make a difference but I hope talking about our issues will help everyone," Mr Tampubolon.

"This is not about making Aldar look bad or complaining at Al Muneera. We love the community. We just want it to be better."