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The beach belongs to us: Nakheel boss

Nakheel claims exclusive ownership of the beach at Palm Jumeirah, urges defaulters to pay service fee dues

  • By Anjana Kumar, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 21:24 September 26, 2012
  • XPRESS

  • Image Credit:
  • palm jumeirah: Shoreline Apartments where fee defaulters have been denied beach access
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Dubai: Nakheel has renewed its claim to exclusive ownership of the beach at Palm Jumeirah.

Residents of Shoreline Apartments here have been in a dispute with the developer since December 2011 when they were asked to keep off the beach until they paid their service fees.

Aasked if Nakheel was looking to take control of common areas such as the beach, beach club and lobbies, Nakheel Chairman Ali Rashid Ahmad Lootah, said: “The beach belongs to Nakheel, it’s our beach. We will go as per the contract we sign. I don’t want to elaborate more. Whatever is there in the contract, we will respect it. It is not what people think they are entitled to.”

Lootah said owners must pay the service charges. “There’s no excuse for not paying. All our fees are approved by the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (Rera) and audited by auditors,” he said in an interview to XPRESS.

Owners and residents of Shoreline Apartments on the posh manmade island have locked horns with Nakheel over beach access for months.

In January, things came to such a pass that angry residents called the police to intervene.

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The issue of service fees has also dogged residents of Marina Residences, also built by Nakheel on The Palm. The building’s swimming pools were drained in June and remained empty for weeks.

“We have issued clear statements on this. People are not paying service charges. How can we arrange the necessary facilities? If nobody is attending the swimming pools, do I leave it unattended? What is the safest way to deal with it?” he asked.

“All our service charges are regulated by auditors. Having said that, people have become more co-operative now and have started to pay their dues. I would like to add that Nakheel’s service fees are among the cheapest in town and there are certain people who recognise this. But, there are others who do not want to pay as they do not reside in the UAE. I ask people to encourage their neighbours to pay their service fees,” said Lootah.

On Service Charges

“I would like to assure people that we are bringing costs down on all our developments — whether it is service fees or owners’ association-related. We are publicly tendering all our contracts to get competitive bids. We mean well, we mean good.”

He added: “Even when people do not pay service fees, we maintain their buildings. Who collects their garbage? Who provides their security? How can they stay in the building if there are no services? We do not inflate service charges.”

He said services are proportional to the fees. “The services commensurate with the amount collected as fees. There are always priorities in each development — as to what service is more important.”

He said Nakheel properties enjoyed 90 per cent occupancy levels. “If people were not happy with us or if our properties were unattractive, then why would we still have such a high occupancy? If our investors are able to lease their properties, I don’t see an issue.”

Lootah has cautioned prospective tenants to do their homework on the property they want to rent. “Landlords have to give the full picture to the tenants before leasing out their units. Tenants must also do their bit to check on the property they are planning to move into.”

“I think Nakheel is very transparent. We are addressing all enquiries that we receive. If people have a problem, our doors are open and they can come and talk to us about it. There are policies within Nakheel and processes set within our system. We will do our best to solve their issues.”

On District Cooling

He said the increase in power costs has resulted in increased district cooling rates in Nakheel developments. “District cooling has nothing to do with us. We don’t own the district cooling companies and we have no control over them. People now have all the facts and figures with them [on the charges], they should do their calculations before moving into a property.”

On JOPD

Regarding the Jointly Owned Property Declaration (JOPD), the Nakheel Chairman said the process was ongoing and no timeline had been set to finalise it.

A Chairman of the Interim Owners Association in the Shoreline Apartments said: “We are waiting for it to be signed.”

Explaining what a JOPD is, Shahram Safai, Partner, Afridi & Angell said: “A jointly owned property declaration is a document that is produced for each project. It describes the common areas in a project such as the pool, gymnasium, car parks etc.

“The JOPD is a very important document because it tells potential purchasers and existing owners what the common areas are and how service charges are calculated.

“It is the responsibility of the developer to prepare the JOPD and sign it in order to be submitted to Rera. Purchasers of units can change the JOPD after it has been filed and the building has been completed.”

On the property market

Lootah reckons the property market is reviving. “We are back to 2007 prices. Prices are looking up, especially in high-end properties and villas. My job is demanding. But I am satisfied with the progress we’ve made. I see the results coming in. Nakheel is back on track and is here to stay.”

Comments (9)

Your comments
  1. Added 11:29 September 27, 2012

    Why do people refuse to pay maintenance fees which they contractually agreed to, but still think they are entitled to use the facilites? It costs a lot of money to run and maintain a building. The Palm has private beaches which I'm sure are regularly cleaned by an army of workers. Do residents think this comes for free? Maintenance fees are budgeted, audited and approved by Rera, on this there is no debate. Non-paying residents should be dealt with legally, no different from credit card defaulters.

    Tim, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 10:49 September 27, 2012

    "The Beach belongs to Nakheel" - but the Shoreline owners have exclusive access to it (as per SPA). Strange that Nakheel is in no hurry issuing the JOPD, one of the most important document. That would solve and settle the issues mentioned in interview.

    Martti Harju, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 09:14 September 27, 2012

    There are thousand claims and court cases agains Nakheel, and still this gentleman believes he is right? That's ridiculous! I cannot be punished because my neighbour isn't paying his fees...but Nakheel will never be punished for its behaviour... such a shame!

    Eve, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 08:48 September 27, 2012

    Why does Nakheel treat their customers with such contempt. Nakheel have no respect for their tenents, but then they wonder why no one will pay the fees. Who is going to pay for empty swimming pools?

    Anthony Wilkinson, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 08:47 September 27, 2012

    Bla bla bla bla....it's just a bunch of business ways to make money. These giant corporations were not born to provide housing facilities to the general public at a nice location. They entered the market to make money and lots and lots of it. On top of it, properties in the middle east are NOT freehold. They are leased for 99 years by the developers. Then you have regulations changing more times than the number of months in the year. On the fees....let's see...you pay around 5% or more of your purchase price as fees and in 20 years it costs you over 300% of the actual buying price. Maintainence and service charges should be borne by the developer considering the mammoth size of profits they are already making. I think the game is all about the bigger the greedier...

    mannai, doha, Qatar

  6. Added 08:37 September 27, 2012

    We should think first then invest here in UAE.

    anonamous, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 07:56 September 27, 2012

    Nakheel is right these beaches is made by Nakheel's money, these are not natural beaches -- they are man-made. It is only fair to get their investments back and besides if you can afford to own a property in The Palm Jumeirah, which cost millions of dirhams, why can't you pay a mere service fee?

    Ahmed, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 01:05 September 27, 2012

    Nakheel just wants money. I think it's right that landlords should pay the service charge, but claiming the full beach belongs to them is not correct.

    zubair, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 23:53 September 26, 2012

    I remember when I was in Dubai years ago, some of my friends bought property in this area. It was made clear to them that they have to maintain the security, keep the place clean, ensure proper removal of garbage, use the facilities, also keep the beach clean. Property owners must pay an annual service fee. This is understandable and accepted. On a long-term basis it is crucial to know exactly how much has this fee escalated? May be this is the reason people are refusing to pay. A joint meeting with owners and Nakheel can be the solution...this needs to be mandated, sealed and signed in a peaceful manner. Everyone deserves freedom to live...

    kc, Dubai, Canada

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