By Staff writer
Fury as tenants denied access to pools, gyms and beaches as row over fees escalates
Nakheel on Sunday banned more than 1,300 residents on its flagship Palm Jumeirah project from using the beaches, pools and gyms in the first stage of a controversial plan to charge for the use of facilities.
Security staff received a 22-page document seen by Arabian Business, which held the names of 1,386 owners on the Shoreline development that have not paid their service charges in full.
Owners or tenants living in these properties have now been denied access to any facilities, and were warned they could be arrested if they attempted to enter the pool and gym areas.
Many of the apartments have at least two people staying in them, so the actual number of affected residents is likely to exceed 2,500.
Nakheel declined to comment when approached by Arabian Business.
Amidst angry scenes on the Palm Shoreline on Sunday evening, some residents threatened to call the police, claiming Nakheel had no right to deny them access to the beach facilities.
Other tenants complained that they had “no idea” about outstanding service charges and had rented their properties in good faith. A Facebook campaign, calling on residents to challenge Nakheel over the legality of the move, was also launched last night.
“This is shocking what they are doing, a total disgrace,” one resident told Arabian Business. “Our family, with young children, has literally been booted out of the beach because the landlord hasn’t paid his service charges. I don’t know what to do. This used to be such a nice place to live, now the atmosphere is horrible. Most of us can’t wait until our lease expires to leave.”
Another resident said: “I’m staggered. This is meant to be the Palm Jumeirah, but in truth is the only development in Dubai where you can’t use the pool or gym, unless you don’t mind getting arrested.”
The banning of residents is a precursor to a complex set of charges being introduced by Nakheel from Jan 1, which will see all residents forced to pay up to AED12,000 to use the beach facilities. Access is still understood to be subject to payment of all service fees.
Initially it was believed that families of four would be charged a subsided AED5,000 a year, and individual tenants AED2,000. Nakheel also planned to open up membership to non-tenants at a yearly cost of AED12,000 per family.
However, Nakheel has now given owners first option to take up the subsidised ‘resident’ charges, whether their property is leased or not. This could leave rented tenants facing fees of AED5,000 for single membership and AED12,000 for family membership.
In notices posted at the weekend, Nakheel also said that in apartments with more than one tenant, only the leaseholder would be entitled to the cheaper ‘resident’ charges, with all other tenants required to pay the unsubsidized fees.
All guests will be charged AED200 to enter the beaches during weekends, and families with more than four members will be charged up to AED2,000 for every extra child.
“I’ve never seen such a ridiculous scheme,” said one resident. “If you have a one-week-old child you need to pay AED2,000 extra so you can take the pram on the beach if this is your third child. But the child is too young to even have a passport picture. How can anyone think this is a good idea?”
Other residents spoken to by Arabian Business said they planned to leave the Shoreline development as soon as possible.
“I paid AED200,000 to rent my flat and today my family and I were treated like criminals because we tried to enter the beach area. To be honest, even though I still have four months left on my lease I might just move out straight away out of principle,” one resident said.
Security staff at the Palm told Arabian Business their numbers were likely to be boosted ahead of the weekend, over fears residents may attempt to force their way onto the beach.
Nakheel, developer of Palm Jumeirah, has been locked for weeks in a dispute with homeowners over its plan to privatise Shoreline’s pools, gyms and beach. Owners argue they own the facilities.
Dubai’s Land Department this month asked owners to pay outstanding service charges into an escrow account it had established, and not to Nakheel, as it moves to determine who holds ownership of Shoreline’s common property.
A number of homeowners have told Arabian Business they are withholding their maintenance fees until the dispute is resolved.
Is this also a first in world? Luxury compound where owners and tenants can be arrested?
Oh well, no worries as there 100,000 new tenants coming. Right?
More seriously I am curious to see how far this will go. It is true that rents are getting lower but quality of living is dropping even faster. In marina the issue with owners who did not pay fees is becoming a serious one. Enough that you want to keep in mind when renting.
Below certain point in quality Dubai has no competitive advantage. 2012 is going to be an interesting year.
Wow! I go to the spa in the Shoreline and I noticed that the gym is gutted and there is no construction going on to replace this gym, so what are these people paying for? Also, there pool area is run down I noticed, so possibly Nakheel needs to start bullying tenants when they have a proper presentation of a pool/gym area to provide these residents?
I will move out when my lease is finished or earlier of possible.. I will never stay in a Nakheel development again!
What is wrong with devlopers in this country? I would have thought Dubai at the moment would be doing everything they can to attract people to buy property here.
"WOW" what a move by Nakheel. Surely this cannot be the case as written above, can it? I can imagine a desolate Palm Jumeirah in 2012 and the rents in other areas sky rocketing.
As always thought the owners (whoever they may be) will be sitting in their wealthy pads enjoying their beaches and pools.
This is an absolute disgrace and another blight on the recovery of the real estate market.
I have been living on the palm for the last 4 years in the shoreline apartments, and just to think that I was actually thinking of making the transition from tenant to landlord!!!! No more chance now.
My question is now will their staff, who DO NOT live on the palm and work in the PMT offices, be denied entry in to the gyms where I so often see them in club house 1 or 5?
If you have Porsche, you shouldn't be upset with traffic fines or petrol prices! If you afford The Palm, you shouldn't be upset for paying some extra bucks! Basically, if you can't afford a certain style comfortably, just look to what you can afford!
Quite simply illegal. Will go the the courts. The owners cannot say this enough - it is written in our SPA's that all common facility which includes 'gym, swimming pool and all leisure facilities in the Master Plan' is part of the Master community 'Shoreline' which belongs jointly to the owners and is for exclusive use of the owners. The contract even has details about how Nakheel is obliged to facilitate handover of the management of such facilities to the OA and their chosen management company. -Some companies in Dubai actually need to start respecting the contract agreements. This is not good for Dubai - and I think is far bigger than the service charges issue from last year.
Why pay about 30% more on rent than in Dubai Marina, JLT, Motor City if we don't have access to the beach, swimming pool (which is freezing cold) and gym. Maintainance is poor, most apartments have cracks in walls, occasional water supply problems, blocked toilets again and again, guests are charged 150 AED (200 AED on weekend) to access the beach, only 1 overpriced shop for grocery shopping, underground parking lot is dirty and wet..
This Company needs someone visionary to set the path towards ethical conduct and excellence. Their performance before the crisis was build, build, build...with little quality...and after the crisis...is simpley, fire fighting with no water...Time for a major change for the sake of Dubai