Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 22 October 2019

Leaks, mould and power cuts prompt residents of UAE tower to move out

Tenants and flat-owners in Paradise Lake Towers in Ajman say poor quality construction has caused them years of trouble

Apartment owner Khaled Salem shows the empty internet supply cable box.  Antonie Robertson / The National
Apartment owner Khaled Salem shows the empty internet supply cable box.  Antonie Robertson / The National

Residents of a community in Ajman say years of mould, leaky pipes and power cuts have forced them to leave behind their flats and seek accommodation elsewhere.

Tenants and flat-owners in Paradise Lake Towers B6 and B9, part of an eight-tower freehold project in Emirates City, have been left without internet access for years due to incorrectly installed cables.

In June, residents were hit by a string of power cuts while poor construction standards were even impacting their health.

One B9 resident said he moved of the flat he bought more than two years ago after his young children developed rashes due to excessive mould.

I offered the apartment for rent as low as Dh12,000 a year but no one is interested. Now I’m staying at my parents-in-law's in Dubai

Mohammed Allam

“My children [aged two and four] got rashes and the doctor told me it was because of the mould and the paint and cement flakes dropping from the walls,” said Mohammed Allam, who left his flat a year ago.

The Egyptian, 38, said he and his wife tried to keep the floor clean but paint kept peeling off the walls.

“The children were small and always crawling on the ground so it was hard to control the situation. Even after we repainted the walls, the paint kept peeling.”

He said his neighbours told him his flat was once flooded with 25cm of sewage water, which Mr Allam said explained the amount of moisture in the walls.

He bought the flat for Dh285,000 after the estate agent told him his family would have access to the building's recreational facilities.

“When I moved in, both the swimming pool and the gym were not functioning and they are still out of service to this day,” he said.

Paradise Lake Towers in Ajman. Antonie Robertson / The National
Paradise Lake Towers in Ajman has been plagued by maintenance problems. Antonie Robertson / The National

“I offered the apartment for rent as low as Dh12,000 per year but no one is interested. Now I’m staying with my family at my parents-in-law's house in Dubai."

If he were to try and sell the flat now, he does not expect to make more than Dh150,000.

Meanwhile, the owner of a two-bedroom flat in B9 said he also planned to move out after suffering a “long list of problems”.

“I feel like I got scammed when I first bought the apartment in 2005," said Abu Assad, 55, from Yemen. "The delivery process took around 10 years.

“After that, problems started to occur such as cement and paint falling off the ceiling and the walls, below standard doors and windows, mould on the walls and water leaking out of the pipes.

AJMAN, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. 16 MAY 2019. Four years after they moved in, residents and apartment owners at Paradise Lake Towers are still waiting for their internet connection to be installed. The buildings are still also not connected to the electrical grid and several apartments face severe construction quality issues. Apartment owner Mohammed Mazen, an IT professional by trade, in his apartment where he spends more than 1000AED a mont for a basic 3G package to make the internet available to his family.(Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National) Journalist: Ruba Haza. Section: National.
Owner Mohammed Mazen, an IT professional, says the lack of internet remains a problem. He spends about Dh1,000 per month on a portable package. Antonie Robertson / The National

“I’m offering the apartment for rent and will be moving out of the country."

Fawzi Al Radi, an apartment owner at B6, said despite issues over power cuts, his monthly electricity bills were still expensive.

“The water and electricity bills are very high compared with the Federal Electricity and Water Authority fees," the Syrian said.

“We receive a bill with the same amount for water and sewage of every month even if we are away and not using the apartment."

Sweet Homes Group, the general manager of the community’s developer, said the firm provided a one-year warranty on the properties.

“Any snags or defects that may occur due to daily usage need to be fixed at the expense of the unit owner or tenant,” said Nael Al Amir, a spokesman.

AJMAN, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. 16 MAY 2019. Four years after they moved in, residents and apartment owners at Paradise Lake Towers are still waiting for their internet connection to be installed. The buildings are still also not connected to the electrical grid and several apartments face severe construction quality issues. Apartment owner Khaled Salem in his apartment where he shows off water damage from water that is seeping out of the wall and pushing paint and wallpeper off the walls. (Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National) Journalist: Ruba Haza. Section: National.
Wallpaper peels from Khaled Salem's apartment due to water seeping from the interior of the building. Antonie Robertson / The National

He said common areas within the buildings were maintained by Best Option, a facility management company that carries out all cleaning, security and pest control operations.

He also pointed out that Ajman Municipality and the Civil Defence department each inspected the buildings before issuing completion certificates.

“All materials have been approved by the project consultant,” said Mr Al Amir.

In response to the internet connectivity issues raised by residents, he said a third party was responsible for any technical work.

“Sweet Homes is just a mediator between the service provider and the unit owners.

“A no objection certificate has been provided to connect the internet service as per the specifications given by Etisalat in B6 and B9 buildings.”

He said the developer could not operate the recreational facilities including the swimming pool and gym unless the Owners' Association allocated an annual budget

“Gym equipment has been installed but we are waiting to include these facilities in the next annual budget," he said.

“Once the budget is included, the recreational facilities will be operating and residents of B6 and B9 will be informed."

Updated: August 5, 2019 11:52 AM

SHARE

SHARE