New index launched to improve Dubai service charge transparency

RERA's Service Charge and Maintenance Index will give clear details of costs related to real estate projects across Dubai
By Andy Sambidge
Sat 18 Oct 2014 09:24 AM

The Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA), the regulatory arm of Dubai Land Department, has announced the launch of the first Service Charge and Maintenance Index for properties within Dubai's freehold areas.

Designed to be applied to services areas and common spaces and be under the management of owners associations and property developers, the index was launched at GITEX, the technology exhibition.

It aims to add more transparency to costs related to real estate in the emirate which has in the past been at the hub of complaints from tenants and owners.

A Jones Lang LaSalle report published last year said in Dubai, service charges were driven by market forces rather than true operating costs. Often these are below actual operating costs, leaving owners facing an operational deficit.

"The launch of the Service Charge and Maintenance Index enables landlords and property investors in Dubai to know the service charges and fees that are paid for each project," said Mohammed Khalifa bin Hammad, senior director, RERA.

"It represents a necessary step in light of the diversity of the emirate's real estate offerings to expand the scope of e-services that we offer to our clients and ensure the maximum possible level of convenience and transparency."

The Service Charge and Maintenance Index is based on accurate data audited by RERA, with the information being verified with owners associations and real estate developers.

The Index, which will be updated regularly, has been divided into four main categories of residential property - apartments, offices, shops and villas and the level of service and maintenance charges is determined by a dirhams-per-square-foot formula.

RERA said it has been able to audit the service charges and maintenance fees of 420 projects, with the current number of developments currently available in the Index numbering 300.

The Index includes properties located in 22 major development areas including Business Bay, Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Beach Residence, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, International City, Motor City and Silicon Oasis.

"In the near future we aim for the Index to cover all of the emirate's urban areas and provide this service to all our customers," added Bin Hammad.

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