Residents of Golden Mile were stopped by security guards at the apartments as they tried to enter the car parks Image Credit: © XPRESS / Francois Nel

DUBAI: The interim owners associations (IOAs) of Golden Mile are seeking legal recourse to recover service fees from defaulting landlords.

Speaking on their behalf, Alastair McCracken, Chief Executive Officer, Novus Community Management, which manages the buildings, said those who paid their dues are facing hardships because of a few defaulters. "The boards will pursue every option available to them with the Dubai Land Department (DLD), Dubai Police and Dubai Courts to recover the unpaid service fees," he said.

"The boards believe they have no choice now but to take legal steps laid down by DLD. We as community managers are taking steps to expedite the recovery of service charges on the direction of the board," McCracken added.

But Shahram Safai of legal firm Afridi & Angell doubts if an IOA has enough legal underpinning.

"It appears that Real Estate Regulatory Agency's (Rera's) intention is that an Interim Owners Association (IOA) would enjoy the same powers as those granted to an Owners Association under Dubai's Jointly Owned Property Law No. 2007 of 2006 (Law 27). The difficulty is that Law 27 does not expressly mention the concept of an IOA. It is doubtful therefore whether an IOA would legally be able to exercise the powers of an OA.

"However, IOAs are seeking a legal course on the basis that they are entitled to exercise the rights of an OA as detailed in Law 27," he said.

On May 20, Golden Mile residents were locked out of their car parks over unpaid service fees. At around 5pm, several residents of Golden Mile 1 and 2 were stopped by security guards as they tried to access their basement car parks.

The stand-off lasted almost three hours. It was only after the intervention of police that residents were allowed to enter the car parks. It's not that they had not been forewarned.

The notice

On May 14, a notice about the impending move was posted at parking entrances. It read: "Despite repeated requests by the owners association to your landlord to pay service charges due on this unit, the service charges remain unpaid. Notice was served upon your landlord on 30 April 2012 giving 14 days to pay the outstanding service charges. These service charges remain unpaid, therefore the following will occur — your access cards to the building via the Lift Lobbies will be de-programmed; and access to the car-park will be removed."

A Tanzanian who lives in a two-bedroom apartment with his wife and three-year-old child, said: "I pay my rent in full. Why do I have to go through this?" An Indian woman who has rented a two-bedroom apartment for Dh100,000 per annum said: "This place is overrated. I am planning to move out."