x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

'Name and shame' at Shoreline

But a lawyer doubts the legality of posting names of defaulters

Developer Nakheel has posted a list of residence of Shoreline apartments on the Palm Jumeirah who have not paid membership fees to the beach and pool clubs.
Developer Nakheel has posted a list of residence of Shoreline apartments on the Palm Jumeirah who have not paid membership fees to the beach and pool clubs.

DUBAI // The property developer Nakheel yesterday published the names of homeowners who have not paid service charges, amid a row over access to leisure facilities at the Shoreline Apartments in Dubai.

Lists of defaulters, along with the amount they owe, were put up on community noticeboards around the luxury development on the Palm Jumeirah yesterday morning.

The charges are partly related to the use of clubhouse and beach facilities in the development. Nearly 80 per cent of all apartment owners are listed on the noticeboards for failing to pay "master community and clubhouse fees".

Nakheel has angered residents with its plan to impose annual membership fees of Dh2,000 for residents and Dh5,000 for visitors for the use of the facilities, from January 1.

The names of service-charge defaulters were published a day after the head of the Real Estate Regulatory Authority said common areas of the development belonged to owners. The regulator said a developer could charge outsiders to use the clubhouses and beaches, but owners should have unimpeded access.

Paula Horsfall, 54, from the UK, said her landlord had now paid the charges but she refused to use the beach and gym out of principle.

"We are eligible now to apply for an access card, but we have decided to boycott it," she said. "There shouldn't have been any charges in the first place. We've just renewed our contract for another year, but we are regretting it now."

The policy of "naming and shaming" defaulters, while common among developers in Dubai, is a breach of privacy laws, said Ali Al Jarman, managing partner of Prestige Advocates.

"It is not legal," the lawyer said. "They don't have a right to do this. This information is personal. Any visitor can see this list."

Nakheel declined to comment.

mcroucher@thenational.ae