By Staff writer
Security bar residents from watching fireworks from beach as service fee row continues
Nakheel on Saturday banned hundreds of residents from watching Dubai’s New Year’s Eve fireworks on Palm Jumeirah beaches, amid an escalating row over access to communal facilities.
Dubai’s largest property developer brought in extra security to bar residents in its luxury Shoreline project from accessing the beach to watch the city’s dramatic firework displays.
Amid angry scenes, security guards were witnessed warning residents – many with children - that they could be arrested if they tried to enter the beach area without access cards.
“What Nakheel has done tonight is disgusting,” one resident told Arabian Business. “Does Nakheel think this is a good way to treat its customers? I came here with my three young children but have been told I will be arrested if I try and get to the beach.”
Security staff spoken to by Arabian Business shortly before midnight said they would use “whatever force necessary” to stop residents entering the beach. One guard, patrolling three building entrances on the Shoreline, said: “My job is to stop people entering; I don’t care if it’s New Year’s Eve. If people want to get into a fight, I will fight them no problem.”
A spokesperson for Nakheel declined to comment.
Nakheel stopped homeowners and tenants at the Palm Jumeirah property from using its beach, swimming pools and gyms in December, as it moved to privatise the communal facilities.
The developer plans to charge households up to AED12,000 a year for access to these parts of the man- made island, a move opposed by homeowners who claim they own the facilities.
Many buyers have withheld their annual maintenance fees in protest over the row, leading Nakheel to issue temporary access passes to ban defaulters from the beach, pool and gym.
At least 1,300 residents have been blocked as a result. Many of those affected are tenants whose landlord has failed or refused to pay the service charges.
Dubai’s property watchdog, RERA, said last month that Nakheel had no right to deny residents access to communal facilities.
“By law, no one can stop an owner or a registered tenant from using the communal areas once they have paid service fees,” Marwan bin Ghalita, CEO of RERA, told Bloomberg.
“If you bought something based on an agreement with a developer, he can’t change it.”
Nakheel, which owns the clubhouses between the shoreline buildings, can charge residents for the use of facilities and services that aren’t specified in their contracts such as poolside sun beds, towels, showers and changing rooms, bin Ghalita said.
If the developer wants to block residents from accessing the clubhouses where gyms are located, it would have to provide gyms inside the apartment buildings, he added.
By midnight on Dec 31, the Palm Shoreline beach – traditionally one of the busiest places to watch Dubai’s New Year’s Eve fireworks displays – was near empty. A number of tenants said they planned to move out of the development as soon as their lease expired.
“Go and do a survey yourself. You will not find one single person, who intends to carry on living here when their lease is up,” one resident told Arabian Business.
“Many are just leaving early even if it means losing money, because the atmosphere here is so horrible now.”
Nakheel as a property developer messed up, now nakheel as a property manager is just adding insult to injury to the development and the city.
p.s. I do not live in or own a property in nakheel and neither worked there.
Happy New Year from Nakheel!...
Oh well done, masters of PR, this whole scenario needs overruling and brought to an abrupt halt as Nakheel is now a government company. This is becoming acutely embarrassing for the emirate as every holidaymaker in Dubai for New Year will be winging their amateur reports round the world on the subject.
The longer it goes on the one sure thing is that it will escalate around the globe and Palm properties will end up being sold by raffle only.
As you said Nakheel is now a government company. Furthermore, a few weeks ago we had a decision to bring Nakheel out of the DIFC and into the local courts.
All this is happening at the time that many OAs should come into place.
From my perspective this is the official policy in Dubai; I think a clear message is being given and people should simply either accept it or move.
I also find quite interesting how little interest this piece of news seems to have based on the low count of posts.
I live here in Shoreline apartments since 2007 and I have to agree that atmosphere here is so horrible now. We used to gather with friends in pool bars for years with comfort and joy. Not any more thanks to Nakheel. Community spirit and trust in Dubai has been totally destroyed. I agree with gentlemen's comments in the article that you will not find one single person, who intends to carry on living here when their lease is up and thats including me. My lease is finishing after 2 months and I already give notice to my agent not to extend my lease. I don't remember any time, when things went down in Dubai quite so fast, quite so uniformly. We witnessing the collapse of the trust in Dubai real estate market.
The management at Nakheel has all changed, but looks the mindset is the same.
This company now is part of the Dubai Government but does not represent its values or the values of the people of the UAE.
Please Nakheel become a good ambasador for DUBAI, because building a good reputation is very hard and to destroy it is very quick and easy.
I very much agree . What a terrible shame that lovely shoreline friendly atmosphere has changed. Would it not be just simpler for all residents just to pay up their bills and service charges to date?
Nakheel are the worst company I have ever had to deal with. I was one of the many Palm Shoreline Apartments residents whom Nakheel called the police on to get me arrested for using our facilities that are in our rental contract as being part of our rights. The police were surprised that Nakheel is using them to enforce a civil dispute and frighten foreigners into not protesting at Nakheel's outrageous land-grab on the Palm.
Hold on, isn't this the company that recently defaulted on $billions to international bond holders. Can we call the Dubai police on any of them for not paying what they owe?
This is so wierd, it would be funny if it was written as a spoof article, sad to say it is true.
Someone once said "you dont realise how important customers are until you have none"
It is like someone from the competition is working within Nakheel trying to destroy the company.
Just wait till they introduce a toll gate to get onto the Palm or just increase the charges for everyone.
Based upon past performance you have to be prepared for everything.
I am one of the unfortunate guys who lives as a Nakheel tenant and who owns Nakheel properties (more than 1!).
This kind of fleecing by Nakheel will only increase in future, since they have to pay $ 1 billion a year as intertest for the near term (7 year) loan they have taken.
Recently they have increased district colling charges by 300% and they are blaming it on DEWA.
Unfortunately we do not have a recourse!
Happy New year 2012!