Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 16 December 2019

Residents petition Damac over Dh20 charge for cleaners and workmen

Tenants and homeowners urge the Dubai developer to axe the fee

Damac Properties, reported a 86.6 per cent slide in its second-quarter net profit due to rise in costs and expenses. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Damac Properties, reported a 86.6 per cent slide in its second-quarter net profit due to rise in costs and expenses. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Residents of Damac communities are signing a petition urging the Dubai developer to drop a Dh20 charge being levied on cleaners and workmen.

As The National reported this week, the company's security guards have begun stopping contractors from entering buildings and communities unless they paid the fee.

Homeowners and tenants are demanding the company reverses its stance.

“It looks like they have timed it to ensure that most of the homeowners are out of the country so there will be less of a protest," said Antoine Abdelnour, 37, who lives in Marina Terrace in Dubai Marina.

There is no onus on owners and residents to choose any particular service provider over other companies

Niall McLoughlin, senior vice president, Damac

The Lebanese-national is urging other Damac residents to get behind the petition, which he will present to the firm. He said 55 fellow residents have signed so far.

“The decision has created a most unpleasant environment among owners and tenants as it came without any merit,” read the petition.

“Why would cleaners and maintenance staff accept these charges which would cut down their already modest income?

“What’s next? Charging an access fee for our guests?”

Residents said they had been told the fee was Dh20 per day or Dh5,000 per year for a permit. In reality they would pay the fee as they could not expect cleaners to, residents said.

Joanne Grindlay, another Marina Terrace resident, said the introduction of the fee for “security reasons” suggested there were issues with existing cleaners.

"Most of these people have worked for the tenants and homeowners for several years and we trust them implicitly,” she said.

“I have husband and wife cleaners who I have used for almost 10 years now who work without me being in the house as I trust them wholeheartedly.

“If I have to use another company, I would have to remain in the house for three to four hours whilst they clean.”

Some claimed Damac introduced the Dh20 fee to encourage tenants and owners to use its own approved firm, Whitespot Cleaning.

“Whitespot Cleaning staff are allowed into the buildings without having to pay these fees,” said one resident.

Niall McLoughlin, Damac senior vice president, marketing and corporate communications, denied the company had introduced the new tariffs to benefit Whitespot Cleaning.

“Whitespot Cleaning is a registered vendor of ours offering cleaning services to residents in Damac’s properties,” he said.

“There is no onus on owners and residents to choose any particular service provider over other companies.”

A spokesman for Damac said that Whitespot Cleaning was not being treated differently to any other company and it would also have to pay the daily fees.

Updated: August 4, 2019 04:04 PM

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