Emaar names and shames first service fee dodgers

Lists of residents failing to pay their dues go up in Emaar project in Dubai.
NAMING GAME: The first service fee dodgers are named and shamed by Emaar.
By Ed Attwood
Tue 13 Jul 2010 02:40 PM

Emaar Properties has carried out its threat to name residents at its projects who have failed to pay service charges by publicly posting their names and addresses.

A photo obtained by Arabian Business shows the names and flat numbers of 15 residents in the Al Jaz cluster of apartments in the Greens who have failed to pay their service fees on time.

The notice reads: “We wish to remind the following owners who have Community Service Fees pending with the community. Kindly note that the non-payment of your dues affects your neighbours and the community.

“The above are requested to settle their dues at the earliest including the applicable Late Payment Fee and Debt Collection Charges. Please contact servicefees@emaar.ae for further information. We thank you for your cooperation.”

Emaar had previously described the practice as “routine” and said that it had made “concerted initiatives" to strengthen awareness among owners that service charges are an investment on the long-term value of their property.

“Informing owners about the service charges is a routine community management procedure in line with the regulations by RERA [Dubai’s Real Estate Regulatory Authority] and other concerned authorities,” an Emaar spokesperson told Arabian Business.

“Emaar is a pioneer in driving modern community management practices, and even before the recent regulations…were issued, Emaar had taken initiatives to set up interim owner committees that represent the owners. These Interim Owner Committees have been working together with the Community Management Department, and we have had a very successful track-record of cooperation from the owners in paying the service charges.”

The move by Dubai’s biggest developer comes as the emirate’s strata laws are being rolled out.

The laws - which allow property owners to play a more active role in the maintenance of their buildings – mean that there is a concern that owners of property in freehold areas could be hit by major unforeseen maintenance charges.

Under the terms of the regulations, owners have to pay routine maintenance and upkeep charges, as well as premiums to cover building insurance and an emergency reserve or ‘sinking’ fund to take care of bigger problems.

But Emaar’s move to name individuals was met with angry condemnation from Arabian Business readers, who accused the developer of lacking transparency.

“It would be better if the developers explained in detail where the monies were going, and not just send us a a statement that hides all out goings! Why do we pay so much for the security guards that happen to be part of the parent company? A proper audit needs to be done to justify the costs,” one reader commented.

“I have been part of several efforts to bring Emaar’s service charges to an acceptable standard. As of 2010 they tell me pay x dirhams, but refuse outright to give any explanation or accountability what the money is for. (except very general and sometimes wrong explanations)...As long as Emaar refuses to give the right accountability to the owners of the funds (it is not their money after all), I cannot see how the situation can be improved,” another Dubai resident responded.

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