Air conditioning should not be switched off, Dubai housing watchdog says
DUBAI // The emirate’s housing watchdog has issued instructions that air conditioning should not be switched off for Discovery Gardens tenants to force landlords to pay service fees.
Cutting services was prohibited, said the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera), the regulatory arm of the Dubai Land Department, describing the action as malpractice.
“The Dubai Land Department and Rera has taken immediate actions after the emergence of these malpractices, and has issued circulars … to all the real estate and provider service companies that they need to refrain from cutting any public utilities services for real estate units or resorts in any ways that was not determined in the law to demand the services fees,” said Mohammed K bin Hammad, Rera’s Real Estate Relations Regulatory Department senior director.
A list of tenants’ rights was issued, stressing the point that they should not be exposed, he said.
“The Dubai Land Department confirms it is prohibited to cut services of leased property and tenants should not be banned from using the facilities in any possible way,” Mr Hammad said.
“In such situations, the tenant can proceed to the Rental Dispute Centre [RDS] to issue an immediate and urgent decision to prevent that from happening.”
Tenants affected by the removal of building services should launch an action against the person or company responsible at the Rental Dispute Settlement Centre as these practices are not permitted under Law 27 of 2007, he said.
“The RDS judge will immediately issue an order to stop that action.”
In cases where tenants have already received a favourable order but their air conditioning remains off, Rera asked that they revert to the centre.
Discovery Gardens tenants want to claim compensation for the distress that was caused when the cooling was shut down on February 19, a day before a sandstorm swept across the country, whipping up dust and raising temperatures. In many cases, the air conditioning was shut off despite the service charges being paid.
“They came in on Thursday and shut off the cooling and we woke up to the sandstorm,” said Romaa’l Patel, whose husband is asthmatic. The couple went without cooling for three days.
“My landlord never has outstanding amounts, but they did not show consideration for those who had paid and shut off the entire building,” she said.
“We were dying in that apartment. We have two dogs and had to keep the windows open because it was too stuffy. It was horrendous. My house is still a mess. I had professional cleaners come in and I’m still lifting sand off the furniture. I was one of the lucky ones because it was turned back on and they said it was a mistake. There are still a few people on my floor without AC. We should be reimbursed. We should be able to charge someone for this nightmare.”
Updated: April 20, 2015 04:00 AM