By Courtney Trenwith
Master developer recently installed a fence and gate at Al Furjan, preventing more than 100 residents who do not have access cards from reaching their homes
Some residents in Dubai’s Al Furjan have been blocked from entering the community after strict new security measures were put in place.
Several parents have told Arabian Business they were forced to wait in the heat with their young children, sometimes for hours, because security guards would not allow them to access their homes after the installation of a new fence and gate.
Residents now require an access card to enter the community, in Jebel Ali, but residents of more than 100 villas are yet to receive their passes.
Anna Jaiet told Arabian Business she was refused entry last week despite her two-year-old toddler crying in the car in 43-degree heat, in what she said was a distressing experience.
“My son was starving in the car. I was begging them for 30 minutes in tears to let us in, as I have a child who needs to be fed. The response was, ‘go to the mall!’ I had no petrol to wait there long. They scared me with [threats to call] police," she said.
A father also told Arabian Business his nanny was held up at the gate with his crying 20-month-old child for about 45 minutes last week.
“We had submitted paperwork for passes but heard nothing back... It's disgusting and unethical to keep people locked out of their homes,” he said.
Nakheel has responded to the outrage, telling Dubai radio broadcaster ARN that owners and residents had been informed of the need to apply for access cards more than a year ago, with several follow up notices posted over the past few months.
Large signs reminding people of the new access procedures also were recently erected.
“More than 500 people have applied for and received their access cards, with another 150 under process,” Nakheel said.
However, the cards will not be issued to residents whose landlords have not paid up-to-date service fees, effectively making it difficult for them to enter their homes through no fault of their own.
“A lot of people were stuck in the situation where they were being bullied by Nakheel to pay the service fees for the landlord so they could get access to their own property,” a long-term resident told Arabian Business. “That doesn’t sit well with me, so I haven’t applied for [an access card].” He said he also refused to apply for the access card based on principle and he would fight the point through lawyers, if required.
A resident named Simone said some people had been forced to pretend to be a visitor instead of a resident to gain access, because non-residents were allowed to enter.
“It’s getting to the point where they’re having to lie to get through the gates,” she said.
But not all residents are unhappy with the extra security.
One man, who has lived in Al Furjan for 14 months and contacted Arabian Business, said he and his family felt “95 percent more secure” with the new fence and gate system.
“People nagging about access cards are the same ones who nag all day on FB [Facebook] at anything that happens in furjan or Dubai and they usually blame Nakheel or Dubai for that,” he said via email.
The resident received his access card before the gate was installed and blames others for delaying applying for the card because regular security guards continued to allow familiar residents access.
It was only recently that Nakheel placed its own guards at irregular times, with instructions not to allow entry to anyone without a card.
“We received many, many notifications from Nakheel informing us that they will be starting the gate thing and what was exactly needed. People kept putting things off and postponing simply [because] the poor workers at the gate were opening to anyone,” he said.
“Then when Nakheel escalated it, the naggers started shouting at them to open, threatening them at times and posting on [Facebook] that they would inflict serious injuries to them if they didn’t open the gate and that it was illegal and they would call the police …”
He said, in some cases, residents were suffering because they had paid their yearly rent without first checking the landlord had paid all the service fees.
Another happy resident said he bought his villa in Al Furjan one and a half years ago deliberately because Nakheel promised it would become a gated community.
He said residents had been well informed of the intended security upgrade and buyers or renters should not have chosen Al Furjan if they did not want to live in a gated community.
“When Nakheel started informing us about the gates, many residents were against that and refused to apply and started since then posting on Facebook their discontent about this decision while knowing that Al Furjan, since its inception, was meant to be a gated community,” he told Arabian Business.
“If this fact is not up to their satisfaction they shouldn't have rented or bought at the first place. So all this hassle and nagging is not acceptable at all.”
However, Simone called for Nakheel to have some clemency for affected residents.
“It doesn’t matter how long or short we’ve lived there, it seems to be an issue between Nakheel and the landlord and they don’t care about the renter,” she said.For all the latest real estate news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
The residents at Jumeirah Park too need to start worrying. Recently we have been told that Gardeners who are employed by us need to be dropped off in their Company Bus, they cannot cycle from one house to the other.
There has been frequent changes in the security Company, the recent one stopping residents to find out where they are going.
We also have had an incident where we ordered a Car Cleaning Service and were told by security that they need a gate pass - I don't see any gates nor have been told about any coming up, as a matter of fact some areas of JP are still under construction.
Hope one fine day we won't have to face same problems as Al Furjan Residents - fingers crossed.
We live in AL Furjan and its a lovely development. We applied for our cards as soon as the request from Nakheel was received and received them over 6 months ago. This is a simple process and the minimum requirement for a gated community, I really don't know what people's objection to it is. I could understand them not knowing if they have just moved in but the signs are everywhere and for my money Nakheel have got it right this time. Why fight it as its only there for your protection. On the other hand; if you are renting (as we do) and your landlord has not paid community fees, Nakheel is within its rights to prevent the cards being issued as the tenancy is between you and the owner not you and Nakheel, so more fool you for not checking first.
I don't think Nakheel has done anything wrong here. I have been to this community and has applied for the passes in time and has the pass. no access issues. Nakheel has been asking people to register since more than eight months. Those who have problems in getting card due to various reasons are simply crying wolf...
What does 95% more secure feel like?