x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Tenants locked out of flats over fees

Residents at Jumeirah Beach Residence say the building's management company has deactivated access cards they need to enter the building because of service fees their landlords have failed to pay.

Dubai, 24th August 2011. Exterior shot of Sadaf Tower at Jumeirah Beach Residence. (Jeffrey E Biteng / The National)
Dubai, 24th August 2011. Exterior shot of Sadaf Tower at Jumeirah Beach Residence. (Jeffrey E Biteng / The National)

DUBAI // Dozens of tenants say they have been banned from getting into their flats in a prestigious beachside development in a row over unpaid service fees.

Residents in the Sadaf towers in Jumeirah Beach Residence say their security cards have been deactivated, denying them access to the car park and apartment blocks.

It is the second time management at the development, which has eight towers, has refused access to tenants, according to residents.

Tenants say that in many cases they are being held accountable for their landlords' failure to pay the service fees, which cover security, maintenance of common areas such as swimming pools and general upkeep of the buildings.

"It's ridiculous - people have to queue outside the car park because the security guards won't let them in," said a British tenant at the Sadaf 8 tower.

"They are refusing access to people who have not had their service fees paid." Residents need working access cards to enter the car parks and the main entrances to the buildings where their flats are located.

Dubai Properties Group, which owns the buildings at Jumeirah Beach Residence, denied claims it is refusing tenants entry.

"Dubai Properties Group (DPG) and its appointed community manager, Ejadah, reject the allegation it restricts access to tenants or owners who have outstanding service fees," a statement said.

"DPG and Ejadah are making all possible efforts within the law to collect the fees on behalf of the Interim Owners' Associations."

The Interim Owners' Associations at JBR could not be reached for comment. The bodies represent the owners of individual properties within the buildings and deal with maintenance.

The British resident disagreed with DPG's statement. "They have put up a notice warning people who have not paid their service charges that they will lose access to the building," he said. He tried to park his car a few days ago but the security guard refused him access. "The property management company should be going after the landlords - they are the ones who aren't paying the fees, not their tenants.

"On the notice, there is an e-mail for Taziz Property Management, the third company in the last few years dealing with the Sadaf towers.

"I've been calling and e-mailing them since August 16 and have had no one pick up the phone or reply."

Taziz is a subsidiary of Ejadah.

Even residents who have not had any issues over service fees are still experiencing problems.

"I share an apartment and have been in JBR for about four years," said an American resident. "No one knows where they stand with regard to the passes as it keeps changing."

Previous attempts to implement a security card system lasted for a few days, he said. "It is a huge inconvenience - I have never needed a pass before and don't know what purpose it serves."

The cost of having a new pass made is Dh250, which most of the residents who spoke to The National are unwilling to pay.

"I can't understand how it is so expensive for one piece of small plastic," said Carmen Li, a Chinese housewife living in Sadaf 8.

 

nhanif@thenational.ae