DUBAI: A Dh18-million villa owner in Jumeirah Islands Mansions was left red-faced when his guest was turned away by the security guard of the gated community as he had not paid two months’ overdue service fees.
Not just that, the guard even told the visitor that he was not being let in as his host had been blacklisted by the developer Nakheel.
The incident took place on August 11.
Indian expat Anandkumar who owns the upscale five-bedroom villa, said: “I was shocked when my guest called me from the gate around 8.30am saying he was not being allowed to enter the community.
“It was very embarrassing. He was dropping off some sweets for my family. I rushed out and pleaded with Nakheel’s security management to let the visitor in. But they refused, saying they had strict orders,” said the father of two, who owns a chemical distribution company in Dubai.
“I did not know what to do except offer an apology to my guest. He gave me the sweets from across the gate and left. Why did they have to take it out against my guest? What did he do to deserve this treatment?
“To name and shame me in this way in front of my guest is unacceptable. The property was handed over to me last year and I had paid my fees on time. But this year there was a bit of a delay as I was travelling,” he told XPRESS.
Anandkumar, who bought the Mediterranean-inspired property for Dh18 million in 2009, said he got the service fee invoice in May.
“I was given a 30-day timeframe to pay up after which there was a one per cent late fee charge but it slipped my mind as I was busy travelling.”
On August 4, Nakheel emailed him a notification warning him that some services to his villa would be stopped if he didn’t clear the dues. “The letter said that only my waste management disposal and collection service will be stopped. There was no mention that guests would not be allowed to enter my place. I was in the US, yet I replied immediately saying that I would settle the dues on August 11, as I was returning to the UAE on the evening of August 10.
Anandkumar said Nakheel should have conducted due diligence and checked the history of defaulting owners before taking such a drastic step.
“I am an honest and responsible resident. In 2009, I purchased the villa paying 95 per cent of the cost upfront. The handover took place in 2012. Yet I kept faith and trusted Nakheel. I expect them to treat me the same way.”
Embittered by the experience, Anandkumar has shot off an angry letter to Nakheel’s chief executive. “I want to raise this issue so that other owners don’t find themselves in a similar embarrassing situation.”
Nakheel said they will continue to pursue service fee defaulters as their strict measures for collection is getting positive results. The developer, however, did not comment on Anandkumar’s case. In an email response to XPRESS, Nakheel said: “Service fee collection is an issue faced by all developers. While we do not discuss individual cases with the media, we confirm that our service fee collection campaigns are having an impact with paying residents who are pleased that we are chasing non-payers. However, we are still owed millions of dirhams in unpaid charges, with many not paying their dues for over four years. We will continue to pursue defaulters.”
“Our service charges are fully approved and audited by the relevant authorities. As we have stressed before, only by collecting service fees can we ensure ongoing maintenance and improvements at our communities.
For the uninitiated, service fees help pay for the upkeep of common areas, facilities and security, among others. And the fee for Anandkumar’s mansion is Dh45,000 per year.
Nakheel delivered the brand-new villas at Jumeirah Islands Mansions in 2012. Their current prices range between Dh20 million and Dh25 million.