x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Demolition work gets under way at Dubai villa compound

Tenants at the 90-villa Emirates Oasis Villa are angry they were not given the mandatory 12-month legal notice to vacate. They received eviction letters on February 26.

A villa at Emirates Oasis off Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai. Residents say they were not given enough notice to leave. Pawan Singh / The National
A villa at Emirates Oasis off Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai. Residents say they were not given enough notice to leave. Pawan Singh / The National

DUBAI // Villas were being stripped and yards cleared in a community off Sheikh Zayed Road six months after the developer told residents that their homes would be demolished.

Some tenants were still in the process of moving out of the 90-villa Emirates Oasis compound, which now has a deserted look.

Several left in Ramadan and almost all were aggrieved that they were not given the mandatory 12-month legal notice. They received eviction letters on February 26.

Most residents were upset that pre-demolition work was being carried out while families still remained on the property.

“It’s very unsettling and unsafe that there are so many workers around and that villas are being emptied on the street we live in,” said a resident with young children.

“There are broken planks with nails lying around, doors stacked up, garden pagodas left on the street … they could have at least waited until everyone left. We wanted to fight it out but we finally decided we don’t have the time or money.”

The tenants were given until the end of next month to vacate and objected to being told they would not be compensated for removal costs if they did not leave by August 17.

Some were on vacation but have been told that the Asteco office in the compound would also shut in two weeks.

Asteco Property Management, on behalf of developer Al Habtoor Group, said it was in talks with one remaining tenant. It said its February notice was legally valid.

“Out of 90 tenants, 16 are remaining on the compound to date. Only one resident has yet to agree to a date to vacate their unit,” said an Asteco spokeswoman.

The September deadline was brought forward to this month since “all but nine residents had committed to vacate on or prior to this date, and the developer is keen to start work”, she said.

“Of these, eight have now agreed on vacation dates.

“August 17 is the date being targeted to vacate the entire compound.”

An announcement on plans for the property would be made shortly and demolition work would begin as soon as possible, the spokeswoman said.

Groups of tenants had earlier planned to stay on in the compound because they had renewed tenancy contracts until the end of the year or early next year. They cited safety and security concerns for leaving.

“It was becoming increasingly uncomfortable to live with strangers around,” said D A.

“The place is a mess with fences knocked down and unskilled workers removing AC units and dumping CFCs [chlorofluorocarbons] into the atmosphere.”

Asteco said demolition was being conducted in line with municipality health and safety regulations, and inspections were carried out by authorities.

“To accommodate the remaining tenants and despite the fact that a formal demolition certificate was granted by the relevant authorities allowing demolition work to start without further delay, it was the developer that actually stopped these works proceeding in mid-July,” the spokeswoman said.

rtalwar@thenational.ae