A tenant in Discovery Gardens Building 186 complains about cheap maintenance and gas and water leakage that has been causing him health problems. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: A resident says that the stench of sewage in his flat has forced him to take refuge in his car or stay with friends or relatives for the past seven months as he fears for his health.

“I have got to the point where I cannot stay in the house because of the smell,” Indian expatriate A. Khan told Gulf News during a visit to his one-bedroom flat on the ground floor of a building on Street 8 in Discovery Gardens.

Khan moved here in June and complained of a stench coming from his toilet and bathroom drains. He knew of the strong smell of sewage in the community due to the irrigation system but said the stench inside his flat was something else — seemingly coming from the septic tank underground.

Khan complained about the stench to his broker several times, along with other problems in the flat that needed repairs, but he said his complaints went unheeded. When he saw what appeared to be black mould growing on his clothes on July 15 he panicked.

“[It was growing] on the sofa, on my laptop, my brand new fridge and my brand new washing machine. When I saw it growing on my clothes I immediately packed up all my essentials and walked out,” Khan said.

Wissam Raad, managing director of Black and White Real Estate, the building’s broker and representative of the Kuwait-based building owner, said he was sceptical about Khan’s complaints.

Investigation

“In my opinion he’s just trying to get out of the contract. Every time we speak to him there’s a different story, either the AC isn’t working or there’s a smell of sewage in the flat,” Raad told Gulf News.

Raad said that he had sent maintenance personnel to fix the issue. Out of their 99 tenants in the building, he said Khan was the only one who had made a complaint. Raad said the building had been closed for four years and was bought from Nakheel last year. They started renting it out in June and repairs, as in any building, were needed. Raad stressed if tenants had problems they could tell them directly.

Desperate for a resolution, Khan filed a court case with Dubai Municipality. A verdict is set to be given on February 9.

Meanwhile, authorities at the Public Health and Safety Department at Dubai Municipality said they would collect samples of the black substance from Khan’s apartment and investigate. A decision is expected in two weeks.

“There are many factors to be taken into consideration as we also have to confirm how the fungus came to be. It might have been caused by a leakage or by the level of temperature and humidity,” said Raed Al Marzouqi, Acting Director, Public Health and Safety Department at Dubai Municipality.

Other residents said the problem wasn’t only at Khan’s flat. One of his neighbours on the ground floor said besides the stench they had seen black worms in the drains on several occasions. Those on the higher floors had an issue with the stench as well.

“The toilet smells like a dead animal and it spreads all over the house. Sometimes even if you’re still in the elevator you can already smell it. It has affected me as a person, [I] can’t sleep,” Tunisian expatriate Tricki, who lives on the first floor, said.

“The smell is like from the bathroom, sewage. There are times when I can’t enter the flat because of the smell. My flat smells worse than an unflushed toilet,” said Joseph, who lives on the fifth floor.

— with inputs from Mariam Al Serkal, Senior Reporter