Image Credit: © XPRESS / Zarina Fernandes

Dubai: Homeowners of an upscale 45-storey residential tower in Dubai Marina are planning legal action against the developer, alleging a series of violations, including unfulfilled promises, mis-sale, misappropriation of funds and non-payment of bills to multiple service providers.

From the first-ever indoor golf simulator, indoor pool and spa facilities to keyless security and smart home systems, developer Trident International Holdings (TIH) had promised ‘untamed luxury' to residents of the premium Trident Grand Residence which has 255 one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments, besides penthouses. But homeowners allege many of these facilities have not seen the light of day.

They claim that in violation of the law, TIH forced them into paying an overcharged service fee when the building was still under the defect liability period and collected Dewa (Dubai Electricity and Water Authority) connection charges before handover, failing which they were not allowed to inspect their apartments or given their keys. Worse, they allege the developer had not used the funds collected to pay the dues of several service providers, including Dewa, leaving the homeowners to face any possible repercussions.

Claire Grainger, Senior Partner from Prestige Advocates & Legal Consultants, who is representing the interim homeowners' association of the building, said, "We intend to demonstrate in arbitration and court proceedings that either the developer never actually intended to deliver some of the promised facilities or cancelled some of them part way through the construction as published in their marketing material which was used to talk people into buying apartments."

She said, "We have been engaged by the homeowners association to take up their concerns and pave the way for an investigation into a potential misappropriation of funds that should have been used to pay multiple service providers like security firms, cleaners, elevator maintenance and Dewa."

Grainger, who did not disclose the amount due to the service providers, said, "They have not been paid either in full or in part while the building was under the care of the developer."

The lawyer said she is also representing some individual owners in their private action against the developer with regard to the alleged mis-sale.

"What we have is a far cry from the very high-end luxury apartment with ‘A' class finishing that we were talked into," said one such owner who bought a two-bedroom apartment.

She said she is approaching the Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC) with her case and has a long list of complaints from uneven floors, broken tiles and poor fit-outs within her apartment to the lack of security, missing emergency lights and non-owners occupying the car park due to lack of barriers in the building.

She claimed that in violation of Rera (Real Estate Regulatory Authority) rules, the developer forced her to pay Dh56,000 as Dewa connection charges before handover, just as she had to cough up an overcharged service fee in the first year. Barring a minimum maintenance fee chargeable to owners for utilities and cleaning maintenance, the developer was still responsible for other costs as the building was under the defect liability period at the time, she added.

XPRESS made several attempts to reach the developer through e-mails and phone calls but no response was available.