x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Nakheel's Palm Jumeirah defaulters start paying up

Developer's decision to block beach club access to service charge defaulters pays off.

The shoreline apartments at the Palm Jumeirah.
The shoreline apartments at the Palm Jumeirah.

DUBAI // Nakheel’s decision to block beach club access to service charge defaulters on the Palm Jumeirah has paid off, with more than Dh500,000 being collected every day, its chairman has revealed.

The state-owned company last month restricted access to beaches and gyms in the Palm’s Shoreline Apartments in a bid to collect Dh72?million in unpaid fees. Since then, 20 per cent of that has been collected. Ali Rashid Lootah, the Nakheel chairman, said the developer was within its rights to enforce the collection of fees.

“We own the beach,” he said. “It’s our right to stop people entering who haven’t paid. Why should one person who hasn’t paid for the maintenance of that area have the same access as someone who has?”

Service charges are required by owners for the upkeep of the property. They must be approved by the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (Rera) before they can be invoiced.

However, Rera has only approved the fees for the maintenance of the residential blocks themselves, and not the clubhouses.

“Rera instructs Nakheel to revise the previously sent outstanding arrears to reflect only outstanding building service fees for 2010 and 2011 and will instruct Nakheel to send revised invoices to all owners once more,” it said in a December 15 meeting.

However, Mr Lootah said that clubhouse fees were included in the package of service charges. “It’s a facility for the residents and they have to pay for it one way or another,” he said. “Rera has never raised any issue about the clubhouse fees.”

He said that the “silent majority” of residents were content to pay their service charges as they stood.

“People are paying,” he added. “If many people hadn’t paid, that would have told us that there’s an issue. It’s only the minority who haven’t paid that complain.”

Separately, Nakheel also planned to introduce a membership plan for residents for the use of the beach club. The plan was to cost Dh2,000 for an individual and Dh5,000 for a family of four.

However, those plans have been delayed until at least January 15, after the chief of Rera, Marwan bin Ghalita, said that residents who pay service charges should not have to buy membership to use the facilities.

“This is currently on hold,” said Mr Lootah. “We will wait for Rera’s decision on that.”