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New hope for Dubai investors on stalled projects?

Expats pin their hopes of recovering their lost fortunes on cancelled projects

  • Delayed: The Chapal the Harmony project in Ajman was supposed to be completed in 2011Image Credit: Supplied
  • No tower, only fence: A fence is what you see today at the Toronto Tower project siteImage Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Back in 2006, when the ‘market was at its peak’, Indian Salim Shaikh bought two properties amounting close to Dh500,000.

Six years later, neither of his project has seen the light of day and a significant chunk of money remains stuck. Yet Shaikh hasn’t given up hope.

He, like several other forlorn investors, now believes a new decree by the Ruler of Dubai will bring deliverance. “I read about a new panel being set up to settle disputes related to projects cancelled by the Rera (Real Estate Regulatory Authority). It’s encouraging,” Shaikh says.

Change of Fortune

Recently it has emerged that Dubai will liquidate scores of cancelled projects and use the funds to repay investors.

Shaikh paid Dh186,610 for a one-bedroom unit in the Toronto Tower project in International City Phase III. The price of the development was Dh327,386. It was due for completion in November 2007.

Six years on all that stands on a large swathe of barren land is a long stretch of rickety black fence.

“When I sought to withdraw from the project they offered me only 30 per cent as refund and said that I could challenge them if I liked. Lawyers told me it was a straight case and I would win it but then what? I had no confidence of getting back the actual amount,” said the 52-year-old, who had shelled out another Dh257,000 for a one-bedroom unit at Chapal the Harmony project in Emirates City, Ajman. Only five levels out of a planned 27 and six parking levels were complete as of last month. On paper it should have all been completed by 2011.

Shaikh says the developers have offered him a ‘swap deal’ with a Dubai Sports City property but at a ‘premium price’, Dh100,000 above the market rate. The International City project is apparently up for liquidation.

“I came to know about it from another investor. When I contacted Rera, they confirmed that the project was up for liquidation but didn’t specify other details.

In response to an XPRESS query about the refund process, the Dubai Land Department said that investors could contact Dubai Courts as the committee in question belongs to them.

Canadian expatriate Taimur, 27, invested about Dh850,000 in four one-bedroom units worth Dh2 million in a Dubai Lagoon project undertaken by Schon Properties.

Due for completion in 2007 it has yet to be finished. But he too, like Shaikh, hopes he will not be forced to forget about his hard-earned money.

About 217 projects were cancelled in Dubai between 2009 and 2011, according to Rera.

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Well written article and I'm in agreement with Mr. Shaikh. I hope that that the existing law will be effectively applied to developers who fail to deliver on their promises and in the process damaged the Dubai Real Estate sector reputation. We purchased from Al Attar Properties in Dubai in 2006. They were supposed to deliver 7 large towers andalmost one thousand villas and have them ready by 2007. Every time we approached Al Attar in Dubai they said: "the construction will start next week. Weeks turned to months and years and they did not even complete the foundation!. Now after all these years they are telling us to agree to only 30% of our deposit or go to court knowingthat with all the investors money that they have, they can better afford the court and legal fees. We have been told by some of the former Al Attar employees that Al Attar properties are buying time and have much of investors fund transferred to their many offshore bank accounts andthe small remaining in the wife's name in UAE.

Al Attar Properties Investor

12 September 2013 14:58jump to comments