By Claire Ferris-Lay
Around 40% of Gulf emirate’s expat residents currently aren’t paying monthly charge
Dubai Municipality plans to charge all expats housing fees by the end of June 2012 as authorities roll out a city-wide campaign to tighten the net on those not yet being billed.
Authorities said around up to 60 percent of residents in Dubai currently pay the monthly fee, but said it will not backdate payments for those who have, to date, escaped the charge.
“It has to happen soon. Let’s say within the first six months of 2012, by the end of June [the whole of Dubai] should be covered,” Abdullah Hashim Abdulghafoor, fees and revenues officer at Dubai’s housing fee department told Arabian Business.
“Customers who haven’t been billed up until now… they are not going to be backdated. If we do that will mean that there will be big amounts charged to their bill and it’s not their fault so it’s not something we feel is appropriate to do.”
Housing fees, billed through residents’ monthly utility bills, are
calculated at five percent of the tenant’s annual rent. Freehold property
owners pay five percent of the annual rental value, as calculated by the RERA
Emiratis do not pay the charge, leading some residents to dub the fee an “expat tax”.
Introduced in 2005, the speed at which the scheme has been rolled out has attracted criticism from some expats, who complain they have been unfairly targeted.
“I have been paying a housing fee for as long as I can remember…. [but] many of my friends have never paid a housing fee until recently and some friends are still not paying,” said one Mirdif resident, who asked not to be named.
“I am 100 percent in favour of a system that applies to everyone. Dubai supposedly has had this housing fee system but has not collected millions of dirhams a year from everyone who should pay. Why is that? What has been the reason?”
The city’s government said in May 2010 it planned to charge all residents by Jan 1, 2011.
Dubai authorities are collecting fees from 17 out of a possible 27 zones across the emirate, Abdulghafoor said, including all new residents in the remaining 10 areas.
Among the areas not yet fully covered include Al Barsha, Discovery Gardens, Palm Jumeirah, Burj Khalifa area and Dubai Marina.
Plans are underway to issue non-paying residents with reminders to fill in online forms to ensure they are correctly billed.
Tenants that fail to complete the application will see their housing fee calculated on estimated rent or property values from the city’s Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA).
“We are going to remind them that they still have to register and if they don’t they will be billed as per the rental index. We’ll probably start sending the notices within a month or two and after that we’ll to start resuming the billing for the remaining cycles,” said Abdulghafoor.
“By [filling in the form] they guarantee being billed accurately, if they don’t do that then they risk being charged more than their actual rent,” he said.
Residents who believe they are being billed incorrectly can complete the form available at https://portal.dm.gov.ae/rcapp/register.jsp and the amended fee will appear on their monthly utility bill within two months, he added.
what a mess. First they didn't billed and now in haste they will bill mostly likelybill high amount....Not all residents are net savy and can submit online forms.
In Sharjah, the process is so well streamlined, single form of contract for all tenants and billed at the time of contract registration.
Looking forward to a decent refund. I have been paying housing fees for the past five years, over Dirhams 50,000.00. That half the population is not paying anything at all (not their fault) why should I be charged this discriminatory fee for years already?
I would like to know what locals don't pay this fee or for that matter a bill for electricity and water. This is discrimination. Does anyone know what is this charge being levied for?
Having paid the "expat tax" since I first came here, I am more concerned that many others have managed to avoid it for so long.
Rules are very clear. Just need to bring it in for all and quickly.
I am not against the housing fee but should be chargeable to all residents not just expat. Why Dubai are bringing differences between expats and local UAE citizens. DEWA bill subsidised for local UAE citizens and now no housing fees for local UAE citizens.
Can someone please explain what this fee is for? It really does seem like just another way to tax foreigners for being in the UAE. And this is a country that claims not to have taxes.
In the end, it is their country so they can come up with any rules they like. Plus the Housing Fee law was first issued in 1962 (much older than I am) so its nothing new. The only thing new about it is the implementation. Check online, they have been trying to implement it for expats across Dubai since 2006.
Its a Dubai Municipality charge for: street cleaning, irrigation, landscaping (those flowers and grass don't pay for themselves), garbage collection, maintenance of parks, drainage, etc. Things that keep the city running.
The fee is collected by DEWA but the money does not go to DEWA. DEWA just funnels it to DM.
In Oman the landlord pays the property tax, which is 3% of the annual rent.
Can anybody help me?
Rent 80.000 Per Year 5% is 4000Dhs is 333Dhs per month
Own 500.000 Dhs Value of avg. apartment that rents for 80000 per year. 5% 25000 Dhs 2083 Dhs per month.
Did i miss something?
I for sure hope so!