By Claire Ferris-Lay
Khalaf Al Habtoor says beach access charges on Palm Jumeirah are unacceptable
Nakheel’s decision to charge for beach access on its flagship Palm Jumeirah project is “dangerous” and “unacceptable”, according to leading UAE businessman Khalaf Al Habtoor.
In an interview with Arabian Business on Sunday, Habtoor strongly hit out at Nakheel, claiming the decision would never have been approved by the Dubai government.
“It was 100 percent [damaging] and unacceptable. If I am buying a house and using the beach and later told I have to pay for the beach, this is abnormal. This is damaging the reputation of my country,” he said.
“I am 100 percent sure that the higher authorities were not aware of such a thing because they would not have accepted it…. They would never have [agreed to] it but some people try to show they are making money for the government – they are damaging its reputation two million times [over] for a few dirhams,” he added.
Habtoor, who operates a number of residential and commercial buildings in Dubai, said he would never amend a contract between his company and its tenants. “Our tenants if I have an agreement with them I would never, ever amend it, it’s not fair.”
Dubai’s real estate watchdog on February 15 said the ongoing dispute between Shoreline residents and developer Nakheel over plans to charge up to AED5,000 ($1,360) to access the beach, pools and gyms had been resolved.
“It’s already solved; this is what they have told me. The owners' association itself, they are dealing with Nakheel now,” Marwan bin Ghalita, CEO of RERA, told Arabian Business.
Five homeowners associations on the luxury development have been RERA approved, allowing them to appoint their own manager for the communal areas. Residents said they expected the remaining associations to be approved within two weeks.
Nakheel in December distributed leaflets to the Palm Jumeirah residents warning it planned to start charging residents. In the interim, the developer banned residents with outstanding service fees from using the beach, pools and gyms by rolling out a temporary security card system.
Nakheel said the lockout would be extended to Shoreline’s main buildings and car parks from January 15 - effectively barring residents from accessing their homes - but homeowners said the deadline had passed without incident.
The company said the lockout is in response to the high number of homeowners defaulting on service charges. Homeowners on Shoreline have AED57m outstanding in service fees, down from AED72m at the start of Dec, Nakheel said on January 3.
The Al Habtoor Group is a holding company for businesses ranging from construction, hospitality, automotive and real estate, run by Habtoor. In 2007, Habtoor sold a 45 percent stake to Australia’s Leighton Holding for $707m.
Mr Habtoor is model businessman in Dubai. His companies are outstanding and continue to grow despite recession. He has always been frank and often correct with his opinion and for that he has my respect. A role model for aspiring business men in Dubai to look up to.
Even the very name Nakheel has become and Achilles heel for Dubai. For Al Habtoor to be so vocal clearly shows the ruling class has had enough.
100% corrrect!, our sentiments exactly, well said, Mr.Khalaf. Nakheel as we all know is trying to milk tenants for every cent they can to show they can make money but they going about it in the wrong way.
Nakheel as a brand is being tarnished by a few individuals and does have a small ripple affect on Dubai , nevertheless.
finally someone who is intelligent enough to realize what damage nakheel has done to dubai and the u.a.e
well done mr habtoor
Thats well said by Mr Habtoor. Lets hope that some one will listen to him and translate into positive action.
Mr Khalaf is bang on here ! What is lost in the melee of recent events is the clear fact that Nakheel sold exclusivity of beach and facilities to buyers in 2002. The proposition was clear ... 1 beach club assigned to 4 buildings. They then renaged on this by selling buidings 7 and 8 to IFA who then sold with the promise of apts an building 7 and 8 having exclusive access to one beach club. It is appalling the way that Nakheel are behaving. The fact that they have problems recovering service fees should not be part of this illegal way in which they are attampting to penalise both tenants and landlaords... many of whom have paid all fees in full. I hope sense will prevail soon
my house has been ready and all construction completed for more than one and a half years, with all the services ready to be connected to my house, but Nakheel would not give the NOC to the developer "Diamond" to deliver the house because of a problem between Nakheel and Diamond. I have paid my house money in full, why do the investors have to suffer in Dubai for issues between Nakheel and his sub-developer ?!!! I have contacted RERA, who are trying to help, but without any positive response from Nakheel. in the meanwhile, my house is rotting in humidity for the past year and a half. Immagine a house completely ready for use, rendered totally uselss, although I could have been living there for more than one year now.
Congratulations Mr. Al Habtoor for having the courage to speak your mind.
Kudos Mr. Habtoor for standing up to the truth! Not just the shoreline issue, but every project of theirs is mismanaged.
Dear Mr Khalaf Al Habtoor
there is another problem in Dubai with off plan apartments that are not started, where they should be canceled and the money returned with out going to court,
This is not good for the reputation of Dubai , as it is not easy for overseas people to do this, I am affected by this and we here so much about this but nothing seems to be done about it,
My money has been gone for 3 years now and I have no idea where it is,