Dubai: Scuffles broke out between workers and security personnel at the Living Legends community last weekend following a legal dispute between the developer and contractor. Police were called in at the community after residents were locked out of their houses on Thursday and Friday.
Several property owners moving into the community could not access their own villas after locks were changed by the project’s contractor.
The scuffles are the latest in a series of issues affecting the community in the last few months. Residents have been complaining about the lack of water and electricity connection in some villas, and delayed landscaping work.
Mohammad Bin Odeh Al Bashir, chairman and CEO of Delta Emirates contracting company, told Gulf News, “If any locks were changed, it’s for security reasons.”
“Some of these properties were completed years ago, and many people were going in and out for maintenance, so some locks were changed to give owners a new set of keys,” he said.
Al Bashir confirmed that there has been an ongoing legal dispute between Delta Emirates and Living Legend’s developer, Tanmiyat, which has been taken to court.
However, he said that starting this weekend, the number of security men will be reduced to avoid any further escalation with the on-site maintenance team, and that all parties involved aim to work together moving forward.
“People living in the community shouldn’t have any more issues, and if they have been through any inconveniences, then I am sorry for that,” he told Gulf News.
Gulf News reached out to developer Tanmiyat, who refused to comment on the incident, claiming the situation is being handled by “higher authorities”.
The series of issues, however, have caused many residents to feel uncertain about the future of the project and insecure inside the community.
Resident T.T said he arranged for a moving company to begin the process of shifting his belongings into his new home after his villa was officially handed over more than a week ago.
“I was shocked to find that the locks were changed and I was not able to enter my own home. After calling all parties, the contractor claimed they have not released the required documents for handover to developer Tanmiyat,” said T.T.
Having to extend the tenancy contract of his current apartment for a few more weeks, T.T said it has been a great inconvenience for him and his family to delay their move, despite the property being registered at the Dubai Land Department and Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) under his name.
The resident also pointed out he was forced to involve the police after a fight between personnel working under the contractor and the community’s security broke out regarding disputes on changing the locks of several villas last week.
Similarly, property owner J.T from India and his wife had been visiting their villa multiple times a week during the snagging process to list down any noticeable defects or issues when their keys no longer worked last week.
“The villa was handed over to us three months ago, and we are in the process of getting it fixed before we move in with our two daughters in October, but we could not enter our own house with our keys,” J.T explained.
The soon-to-be resident said he was forced to call the police, after contacting the developer, who were ready to send a team down to change the locks again.
“I explained the situation to the police and asked them if the developer could change the locks back and since the property was legally handed over to me, they agreed,” said J.T.
He said he is worried about leaving his wife and two daughters in the villa during his work trips, as security in the community is becoming an alarming issue.
Commenting on the handover procedures, Al Bashir explained the process is carried out solely by developer Tanmiyat. “Delta Emirates is there during the handover process to oversee any technical issues such as the snagging process. After the snagging is done and the user signs on it, then he can move in,” he said.
However, Al Bashir pointed out the latest developments have led the developer to rescind the right of the contractor to carry out any maintenance work in the community, adding the change will be corrected on the contract.
He also pointed out that “any owner who has signed the handover certificate is handed over the property by Tanmiyat”.
“In legal terms, we (Delta Emirates) as a contractor do not have any legal contract with the end users (owners); that is with the developer,” he added.