Heat is on: Dozens of defaulting residents at Jumeirah Islands face AC disconnection Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Nakheel has pulled the plug on service fee defaulters in Jumeirah Islands by cutting off their air conditioning.

A British expat and owner of a five-bedroom villa where he lives with his wife and two children aged 8 and 6 had his AC disconnected last week.

“It was like a living hell in this scorching heat. It’s something that I don’t even want to remember,” said the expat who paid the pending dues within 24 hours of the disconnection. “What else do I do?” he asked.

He said he delayed paying the service and chiller-fees because Nakheel did not gave him a break-down of the service fee costs despite requests.

“I am a house owner. And this is something that I have the right to ask from my developer. However, there is very little communication from Nakheel and very little transparency on service fee costs,” the man said.

“My service charges and chiller fees have been consistently going up in the last couple of years and I have absolutely no clue why I pay annual service fee of around Dh23,000 and around Dh4,000 per month towards air-conditioning costs. As an owner, I have every right to get a break-down.”

Residents said many families are on holiday and defaulters could return to a nasty surprise.

A Indian family renting a five-bedroom villa is planning to vacate as their landlord has been inconsistent with service fee payments. “Our ACs were disconnected too and it is very inconvenient at this time of the year. We made a mistake by not checking with the landlord about his service fee payments. We will make it mandatory to check this with our next landlord.”

Nakheel said they were forced to take the extreme step as some residents had not paid up for years. “Service fee collection is an issue faced by all developers. In the case of Jumeirah Islands, some defaulters have not paid service charges and district cooling fees for up to four years. We have been chasing these payments all this time with regular phone calls, emails and hand-delivered reminder notices,” a Nakheel spokesperson said.

“Only by collecting service fees can we ensure ongoing maintenance and improvement in our communities. It is wrong for customers who honour their payments to subsidise those who don’t. We urge people to check with their landlords and Nakheel to whether service charges have been paid before signing tenancy contracts,” the statement read.