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Thu 12 May 2011 11:15 AM

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Poor upkeep may drive down rental prices in Dubai's JBR

Residents say lax security, poor maintenance and noise pollution dragging down living standards

Poor upkeep may drive down rental prices in Dubai's JBR
JBR, which spans 36 residential towers able to accommodate 15,000 people, became a popular expatriate destination on its completion in 2007

Rental
prices in Dubai’s Jumeirah Beach Residence may be dragged down due to the poor
upkeep of facilities in the AED6bn development, analysts have said. 

Residents
in the upscale development, built by Dubai Properties Group, have cited lax
security, badly maintained communal areas and dirty swimming pools for the declining
standard of living in the 36-tower project.

“The
lifts are like something from a 1980s council estate,” said Georgina
Wilson-Powell, a resident in Murjan. “There is always a smell of sewers, and
the communal areas are crumbling apart with broken steps and paving slabs and
fountains that never work.”

“The whole concept of security has by-passed management,”
Chris S, a tenant in Rimal said. “JBR is meant to be putting in a digital
security system, but door cards haven’t been issued to residents and, due to
the cost [AED150 a card] residents aren’t following up. Security is a joke.”

A tenant in Bahar building said security guards do little to
restrict access to the building and facilities for non-tenants.

Home prices in Dubai, the Gulf property market that had the
biggest reversal because of the financial crisis, fell more than 60 percent in
the wake of the global credit crunch.

Rows between tenants and developers over maintenance have
soared in the wake of Dubai’s real estate crash. In locations such as JBR,
Discovery Gardens and Nakheel’s Shoreline apartments, scores of owners have
withheld service fees in protest at the poor upkeep of facilities.

Analysts
have warned the emirate risks developing a two-tiered property market with
villas and apartments in poorly maintained developments proving difficult to
rent out or sell.

“Management
and maintenance complaints are common [in JBR],” said Jones Lang LaSalle’s
analyst Jesse Downs. “Those developments that do not invest now in proper
management will face rent deterioration and stagnation in the short to medium
term.

“In the
long term, once the broader market recovers, these assets will face slower
growth and will be outperformed by well maintained and managed assets,” she
said.

As many as 48,000 homes will be completed in Dubai in the
next two years, increasing current supply by 12 percent in an emirate where
about 40 percent of homes and offices are empty.

“Over time
[poor maintenance] could lead to an influx of less affluent, less sophisticated
tenants at lower rentals,” said JP Grobbelar, director of development
solutions at Colliers.

“This,
together with the existing oversupplied position, does not bode well for the area
and could contribute to the decline in rentals and property values.” 

JBR, which
spans 36 residential towers able to accommodate 15,000 people, became a popular
expatriate destination on its completion in 2007. The AED6bn project faces
1.7km of beach that features a string of luxury hotels, popular eateries and
retail outlets.

Initially a
draw, The Walk is now seen as a source of noise pollution and traffic
congestion, according to tenants

“There is
a constant stream of revving supercars and motorbikes doing circuits along the
front of JBR,” added Chris S. “[Management] also insists on hosting events
directly below the apartments that keep residents awake.”

The Walk has this year hosted events including the 2011
Dubai Jazz Festival, a month-long funfair, and the recent Red Bull Air Village,
featuring motorstunts by bike riders.

Commenting in the JBR Community online forum, a tenant said:
“This is supposed to be a residential area not a highway.”

Dubai
Properties Group, owner of the development, was not immediately available for
comment.

Chris 8 years ago

As a long-term resident at JBR I can fully agree to the maintenance issues. The communal areas are becoming filthy, the pools are a joke and there are no gyms anywhere.

As to the security: I have always regarded it as benefit not to be locked in like in a prison in JBR (in comparison to many Marina buildings, where visitors are treated like criminals before they are let in).

As to the traffic and noise: If you live in JBR, you want to be somewhere happening and enjoy a European flair when walking around. If you like it quiet, move to The Springs.

All in all: JBR still an ok place to live, but due to the bad upkeeping and miserable facility management, I will be out of there next year.

HD 8 years ago

That place was falling apart from handover and while the tenants have every right to complain about the deterioration of the buildings and services from the beginning, I find it ridiculous for any tenant to complain about the noise pollution, traffic and events. You would have the same issues in most places in the world if you lived in such a development in such a location.

Jason 8 years ago

thanks for the article. i am not buying an apt in JBR for sure.

Kat 8 years ago

The same is happening at the Motorcity - security doors and barriers broken all over the development, and it takes weeks for anyone to action anything. Paving slabs are lifting or cracking causing them to become uneven, while we occasionally enjoy a sewage backflow in the underground parking and couple that with the smell of the garbage rooms - yes these planned communities weren't very well planned were they.

Salwan 8 years ago

Allowing restaurents in places without the facilities to be one. Security...a big joke. Anyone can come into the building. From DVD sellers to special massage or robbers. The beach is a big ashtray and a race track for 4x4's. Jet skies are a permanent danger for beach goers. The garage area is full of restaurent smoke and their disposals has made the place the paradise for bugs and rats. Owners tried for many years to be involved in managing the place but DP employees have always pushed back. RERA is not helping much and seem to be protecting the developer. All residents are tired from this situation. A dream for many owners has become the worse nightmare.

JS 8 years ago

I also recently stayed at JBR and couldn't agree more with the article concerning maintenance. While I feel that the cleaners are doing their work, lots of tenants have no respect to the community. The repair work is not being done properly in the communal areas. This is the problem in almost all freehold apartment complexes in Dubai. Maintenance is so important and people need to get involved, if they want their investment to keep its value. On another note, since it has become so hard to get a tenant, landlords are putting up with almost anything. It is now not uncommon in the Marina or in JBR that up to 16 people are sharing a 2 bed room flat. This is against municipality rules. Dubai has to be very careful, so that upscale communities don't become a dump. Since their is always something new in town, people will move on to the next exciting place to be and to live.

Saad Al-Saraf 8 years ago

I still think that JBR is excellent value when you compare it to what you pay in London for sub standard apartments with non existant security or service.
We are over charged here in London and the services sucks
JBR is far more superior.

Bob 8 years ago

My daughter lives there but not for much longer. Mark my words. The way JBR is being managed (or mis-managed) it will not be to long before it becomes another International City. Terrible situation for those that bought there.

dinesh 8 years ago

JBR is the best where can you get such a great location within the vicinity of the beach?

Jebel Ali Baba 8 years ago

Bad up-keeping and maintenance is a huge problem not just at JBR. Look at the Gardens and Discovery Gardens. They are actually falling apart after a few years only. OK, they are not private owned, but Nakheel does care nothing at all even charging maintenance fees every month.