Parking controversy hits the capital's residential buildings, while the new Ikea set to open on Yas Island is struggling to get taxi service.
Property news in brief
Resident parking charges illegal
Tenants in Abu Dhabi were reminded this week that charges by landlords for car parking spaces in residential buildings are prohibited. Under laws issued by the Department of Transport, each tenant has the right to one free parking space in the garage of their building of residence. The law says that unless there is a surplus, landlords are not allowed to lease spaces to tenants who are willing to pay for more spots.
The practice of charging for spaces is still common, however, with some landlords charging up to Dh10,000 per year for a parking space. A common complaint from those forced to pay extra is that their leases did not specify parking charges but when the tenancy contract was due to be signed, the total cost of their rent was increased.
Although some landlords have insisted that the law, which was enforced from November 2009, does not apply to tenants with contracts signed before that date, the DoT said it applies to all tenants.
Building owners can rent additional parking spaces to residents only if surplus parking is available. In buildings that combine residential and commercial space, the law says that residential needs must come first.
Bridge boon for Dubai commute
The opening of the Sheikh Zayed Bridge, which has shortened the drive time between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, is helping Dubai retain the number of commuters who work in the capital, according to a new report by the estate agents Cluttons.
The bridge, which opened in November linking Sheikh Zayed Road with Salaam Street, has shaved an average of 15 to 30 minutes to and from Abu Dhabi, eliminating the need for drivers to take the slower, more congested, routes over the Maqta or Musaffah bridges.
Recording the trends in the Abu Dhabi property market in the fourth quarter of 2010, the report says that despite the recent decline in the rental market, like-for-like properties are still on average 20 per cent cheaper in Dubai, with the Marina and the Greens Community the areas most popular with commuters.
Despite the recent drop in rents in the capital, there is so far little sign that those who work in capital are making the move back.
Analysts believe many are holding out for the expected rent falls of between 10 per cent and 25 per cent that will be precipitated by the release of hundreds of new residential units in Reem Island and Airport Road, expected by the end of the second quarter of 2011.
More taxis needed at new Ikea
Ikea is to enter talks with Abu Dhabi transport authorities in an effort to establish a permanent fleet of taxis outside its store's new premises on Yas Island.
The low number of taxis currently operating on Yas Island could mean that customers without their own vehicles may face a long wait for transport back to Abu Dhabi city centre. The store says there currently are no plans to provide a customer bus service running from the city centre to Yas Island, similar to that in Dubai.
The Yas Island store is due to open on March 15, the day after Ikea closes its current premises at Abu Dhabi's Marina Mall for good.
Occupying a space of 33,000 square metres, the new flagship store will be the largest in the Middle East. It expects to serve 1.3 million visitors in the first year of operations.
Acknowledging that the lack of transportation could pose a problem for some shoppers, a spokeswoman for Ikea said the company was making every effort to address the situation. She said the company would be submitting a request to TransAd that a fleet of taxis would be stationed at the store's exit.