Property management is more than just clearing a to-do list. Actual homeowners will need a direct role in how this gets done. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai’s freehold market has been experiencing a wave of discontent for the past 15 months on the innumerable disputes streaming out over disputed service fees.

The biggest issue is the complete brashness with which these so-called legal notices are served on property owners. They are given no rational chance to contest the notices before they are issued. I mean it makes no sense that notices are issued for unpaid service charges without any regard to the reason why they were not paid.

Complications increase when the process to sort out such disputes are cumbersome… besides being expensive. Honestly, I do believe the entire process is lopsided in favour of management companies, who besides being quite non-cooperative with the owners are intent on ensuring they are made to cough up the demanded monies.

It is important such issues are best sorted out in a rational manner. Ideally, enough scope should be given to the owners to be sure on the rationality or otherwise of the charges demanded. And due cognisance should be given to such communications before legal notices are approved.

Billed for legal

In one instance, the owners were made to face all sorts of charges only because the dispute between the two developers was settled without any recourse to the owners from whom the amounts were deemed to be due. How does a court settlement take place without proper validation of third-party dues is a mystery.

In another instance, the management company had the gall to debit so-called legal fees from the property owners. We had a scenario when the amounts were disputed due to the non-reconciliation between the two developer-partner, and the management company tried to force it out via legal notices.

The ambiguous status of the OAs (owners associations) is also not helping the cause, since for all practical purposes most of the communities/buildings are left in the hands of the management companies. Unfortunately, these entities have zero financial interest in the property.

The only people who really suffer are the property owners – but they have no say in the running of the communities in which they own their homes. I sincerely believe that for the efficient running of any community or building, it is important that the actual owners with insurable interest in it are involved in the property management.