payback time: Defaulting JBR residents face service cuts as the community manager cracks the whip gulf news archive

Dubai Apartment owners in Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) are up in arms against a monthly one per cent penalty on service fee defaulters.

On July 12, JBR owners got an email from Taziz Property Management Solutions warning homeowners that they would be penalised for not paying their service dues.

Taziz has been appointed by master-developer Dubai Properties Group (DPG) for the property management of JBR.

The email said: “You are obligated under Law 27 of 2007 to pay your service charge dues at the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) approved rate of Dh15.32 per square foot per annum within the time frame set in your invoice. Due to your account remaining in default, you are now being levied a monthly one per cent penalty on the total outstanding amount, commencing July 1, 2012.”

The email warned owners services would be cut if they remained in default. “Matters deemed an emergency will still be attended to. All other requests for services and or assistance will be declined until your account is brought up to date,” the letter said.

Service fees in JBR have fluctuated a number of times since it was handed over to owners by Dubai Properties Group in 2007.

“Initially we paid Dh9.50 per square foot per annum as stated in our sales and purchase agreement. In December 2008, the fee increased to Dh21.75 per square foot per annum. After protests, this was brought down to Dh15.32 per square foot per annum in 2009,” an Interim Owners Association (IOA) board member told XPRESS.

He said the default amount has increased because many owners are still paying fees at the original rate of Dh9.50. “In 2009, Rera approved service charges at Dh15.32 on certain conditions. Since these have not been met by the developer, many of us are not paying services at current rates.”

Another board member said external auditors are looking into service fee budgets of the 36 towers in Dubai Marina. “If competitive bids are taken into consideration for various building services, there is no way fees can remain so high at current rates.”

demand for transparency

He called on the community manager to be transparent. “We don’t even have a list of names and contact numbers of residents in the towers. Taziz told us that we have to be ‘elected board members’ to be able to get that list. If they do not consider us ‘elected’, then why are our names put up in the notice below the building as Interim Board Members? The Rera law states that elected IOAs have the obligation to communicate with owners either directly or via the Home Owners Association Manager. We should be allowed to be in touch with all residents.”

A Taziz spokesperson said: “We have issued letters to owners who are in arrears. A one per cent penalty has been added to outstanding amounts to cover the cost of pursuing outstanding fees and to encourage owners to settle service fees in a timely nature for the upkeep of the community. There are significant arrears outstanding in JBR and as its appointed community manager, we need to collect them to maintain community facilities and common areas. In 2011, Dh15.32 per square foot per annum service charge was approved by Rera in accordance with the law. While the sales and purchase agreement includes a clause on the payment of service charges, the actual fee amount is not detailed. This is because the fee varies depending on services provided by the contractor and utility providers. These service charges are approved by RERA. We cannot share data of owners in JBR as this information is subject to data protection and privacy restrictions. Taziz communicates directly with owners on behalf of the IOA.”