Jim Underwood points towards one of the damaged walls of a bedroom that also has faulty AC ducts Image Credit: Virendra Saklani, Xpress

Dubai:  A British businessman has refused to pay over Dh70,000 worth of service charges to developer Nakheel, saying that potential legal action against him doesn't worry him.

Jim Underwood, who lives in a multi-million-dirham villa in Jumeirah Islands, has not paid charges for more than two years because of a dispute with the developer over poor maintenance and faults in his property.

The father of three said he had managed to fix a meeting with a representative of Nakheel in February only after repeated requests by e-mail. "I was pretty much told to forget about any repair work to be carried out by them and warned to pay up my outstanding service charge dues," he said.

Even calculations

Moreover, most of the people who've been dealing with his case have left the company, he said. "They said I should pay up the full amount immediately and then they may waive the two per cent monthly interest charges. I've done the calculations. The amount that I owe them is what might cost me to repair the villa. So I guess we are even."

"It's just incredibly frustrating because I've wanted to have meetings with them to come to some sort of arrangement, but it's been very difficult," he said.

Underwood has been warned that if he does not pay up the amount he may face legal action.

"I cannot sell the villa until I pay off the amount. I don't have any immediate plans to sell it at the moment, but I might do so at the end of this year or the beginning of next year," he said.

Underwood, a director of a fibre-optics company, has already spent Dh400,000 to repair a number of faults, including the swimming pool, landscaping, marble flooring and windows.

He bought the villa in the luxurious gated community for Dh2.5 million around four years ago.

Maintenance issue

The family could not move in for the first 18 months because it had not been completed and once they did, they found more than 60 faults, of which a quarter has still not been repaired.

"If they do take me to court, I don't have a leg to stand on. But it's really unfair that we are expected to pay for service charges when in fact they don't do anything about maintaining the area. The lakes are still filthy and dirty and the mosquitoes we get are horrendous," he added.

A spokeswoman for Nakheel said the developer did not comment on individual cases.