By Claire Valdini
DEWA will not disconnect homes with hefty utility bills in Shamyana’s name but cannot stop landlords doing the same
Landlords at the centre of a US$1.6m Dubai property scam are cutting off their tenants’ utilities in a bid to force them to leave their apartments, residents have told Arabian Business.
Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) said it would not disconnect tenants whose bills are registered under Shamyana Entertainment as long as they continue with regular payments, but cannot stop landlords requesting final bills in their name.
“Landlords are contacting tenants and trying to bully them out of the place,” said one tenant whose utilities have been disconnected for two days.
“They are asking tenants to move out immediately because they don’t have a valid contract and when they don’t get what they want, they say they will cut off your DEWA and ask for the final bill,” she added.
Hundreds of residents across Dubai have been left in limbo after Haitham Al Kouatly, the CEO of Shamyana Entertainment, cashed rental cheques but failed to pass the full amount onto landlords.
In many cases, Al Kouatly told tenants that their utilities bill would be included in their rental contracts. Residents have since discovered outstanding bills amounting to thousands of UAE dirhams.
DEWA will not disconnect tenants whose bills are registered in Shamyana’s name, said Abdullah Al Hajri, vice president of customer service at Dubai’s utility authority. “There will be no disconnection on properties belonging to Shamyana until the cases are resolved by the rental committee.
“We have informed our customers and the rental committee that customers need to continue to pay their bill because otherwise things will get worse,” he said. “If it isn’t in their name then it will be the normal procedure, we cannot stop everything.
Several customers that spoke to Arabian Business said their water and electricity had been cut off in spite of regular payments.
“There have been several incidences where tenants have been cut off, wanted to pay the full bill and gone to the police [because they cannot locate their landlord] and have been refused to turn it on,” said one tenant who asked not to be named.
Dubai Police on September 17 said Kouatly took payments totaling US$1.6m from tenants in the emirate before fleeing to Lebanon on 30 August.
Police in the emirate said they received more than 70 complaints from residents in Emaar’s The Greens and a further eight from tenants in Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Lake Towers, TECOM, The Gardens, Downtown and Jumeirah Beach Residence.