Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 1 June 2020

Abu Dhabi property manager gives tenants one month to remove their pets

Residents of Meera on Reem Island say they specifically asked whether pets were allowed before they moved in and were assured they were

Tom Crompton lives in Shams Meera with his wife and Siamese cat Willi. Provis have given them one month to get rid of their pet. Victor Besa / The National 
Tom Crompton lives in Shams Meera with his wife and Siamese cat Willi. Provis have given them one month to get rid of their pet. Victor Besa / The National 

Pet owners have been given one month to remove their animals from their homes in a popular Abu Dhabi development, or face fines.

A letter issued to all residents of Meera, a two tower development by Aldar on Reem Island, sent on Tuesday, said pets are “strictly prohibited” within the community and must be removed by March 11, at the latest.

“Failing to comply will leave community management will no other option but to impose a fine as per ‘schedule of fines’ indicated in the community handbook," said the letter from building management company Provis, which threatened escalation to local authorities if tenants did not comply.

Though the community handbook states that all pets other than fish and support dogs were “strictly prohibited”, residents said they were told they could keep pets upon moving into the building.

The agent told us that there was no problem and plenty of other tenants in the building had pets

Tom Crompton

Tom Crompton, who moved in to the development with his wife and cat last year, said he specifically asked an agent whether pets were allowed before they moved in, as he did not want the stress of living against the rules.

“The agent told us that there was no problem and plenty of other tenants in the building had pets. At the time, he may have been correct about the rules, and certainly I have seen others in the building with dogs, and the occasional cat,” he said.

Two months after they moved in, he began receiving emails from Provis to say there was a “no pets” policy in place.

“This made us uncomfortable,” he said. “Our tenancy contract makes no mention of pets, though the contract is clearly with the landlord, not Provis.”

He said he fears the rule would result in more people abandoning their pets, adding to Abu Dhabi’s already existing stray animal problem.

However, he stressed this would never be an option for his wife and himself.

“It’s easier for me to tell you what I’m not going to do. I’m not going to abandon my cat. Under no circumstances will I do this,” said Mr Crompton, who is a teacher.

“He has been everywhere with me since I got him as a kitten in South Korea 14 years ago. We have lived in South Korea, Poland, France, UK, and now UAE.”

He said they have two choices: to move out and find alternative pet friendly, or at least pet tolerant, accommodation, or ignore the letter and “run the risk of future punitive measures along with the certainty of an additional cause of stress”.

A fellow resident, who owns two dogs, was told pets were allowed by the building’s community manager before she moved in last June.

“We went in and spoke to the woman representing Provis at the time and she said ‘yes it’s fine’," said the resident, who asked not to be named.

"We signed the contract in front of her and said specifically ‘we have two dogs, we’re not getting rid of the dogs’.

“She said ‘it’s fine, everyone has dogs here’.”

The resident and her husband do not want to leave the community, but feel they have no choice.

However, their rental agreement is not due to be renewed until June, and they cannot afford to break the contract, which leaves them in a predicament.

“Our landlord is fine with us having dogs, and our rental agreement is with him. So if they have a problem, they should take it up with him.”

On Thursday, a spokesperson from Provis said Meera is a pet-free community.

“Our community guidelines have always been clear in this regard, and we have communicated this regularly to our residents," they said.

Provis said it sent the notice after receiving complaints from residents about pets in the building.

“We always urge all of our residents, owners and tenants alike, to ensure that they are familiar and in compliance with the guidelines of the community they reside in," the firm said.

Updated: February 14, 2020 11:57 AM

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