x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Residents told to keep balconies clear or face Dh500 fine

Inspectors to visit Nakheel-built developments to check rules are enforced.

DUBAI// Drying laundry or installing satellite dishes on balconies could land residents with a Dh500 fine after a developer vowed to get tough with community rules.

Owners and tenants in all Nakheel built properties, including Discovery Gardens, International City and The Palm Jumeirah, will face regular inspections from Trakhees, the management arm of the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation.

"Residents in these areas have already been told of the rules and regulations through brochures," said Arif Obaid Al Dehail, CEO of Trakhees.

"Drying of laundry, setting up satellite dishes or storing things on balconies has a damaging affect on the facade of buildings in these communities."

He said although the aim was to educate residents against the practise, persistent offenders would be fined as much as Dh500.

"This practice affects everyone in a community," said Mr Al Dehail. "You could be living in a nice area but when a neighbour does this it reflects badly on everyone.

"It could be a case that someone accepts the warning and removes the offending items from the balcony but then a few weeks later goes back to drying clothes there.

"In that case they would be fined."

However, fines are a last resort, stressed Mr Al Dehail.

Documents warning residents of the rules have been produced in Arabic, Chinese, English, Urdu and Hindi, he said.

News of the inspections has received a lukewarm response from some people living in Discovery Gardens.

"It's all very well them deciding to do this, but I feel there are higher priorities for people living here than drying laundry on balconies," said John Robins from the UK who owns an apartment in the development.

"However, there are plenty of rules and regulations but not much enforcement, so in that respect this is to be welcomed."

He added issues such as the high cost of district cooling, lack of promised community swimming pools and more transparency in what the service charge is spent on are more pressing matters for residents.

But for an Indian owner in Discovery Gardens, who did not wish to be identified, this is a step in the right direction.

"This is long overdue," he said.

"The area has slowly deteriorated in the two years I have been here and putting clothes out to dry on balconies does make the area look scruffy.

"What tends to happen is that people leave their clothes out then go to work. Whenever there is a gust of wind the clothes end up on bushes or on the ground."

A British Discovery Gardens tenant, who also did not want to be identified, said it would not make much difference.

"The only way it will work is if there are regular inspections," she said.

"Otherwise people will follow the rules for a bit and then forget about it and go back to old habits."

There needs to be a continued campaign warning people not to break the rules, she added.