Burj residents sweat over developer threats to cut A/C and elevator services

Burj Khalifa, Emaar Properties, Dubai, air conditioning, unsustainable development, architecture, Middle EastResidents of the world’s tallest building in Dubai are being punished over unpaid maintenance fees – some of them unjustly. In order to pressure property owners who have defaulted on their annual payments, developers Emaar warned residents that air-conditioning and elevator service would be cut until they receive their money.

Roughly 80 percent of the one to four bedroom apartments on floors 19 through 108 of the Burj Khalifa are occupied.

A one bedroom apartment can cost as much as $55,000 to rent per year, but landlords of apartments at the “prestigious address” are also required to pay an annual maintenance fee that is used to ensure that common facilities remain in good working order.

Shared facilities and services include gyms, elevators, swimming pools, air-conditioning, and waste disposal services (however dubious they may be.)

“The service charges for residents go to the management and maintenance of the common areas, for the overall and long-term welfare of all residents,” an Emaar spokesman told The National.

Emaar charges owners of a four bedroom apartment up to $60,000 per year to perform these services, a sum that many landlords simply refuse to pay.

Unfortunately, threats to cut services to make the owners cough up their maintenance fees affect renters (who have mostly paid the money they owe) more than the landlords, who may not even live in the soaring 163 floor building. And then there are landlords who have paid their fees, who are punished for the misdeeds of others.

“It is unfair because this is not the tenants’ fault, they have paid their rent and it is not fair they suffer,” a landlord with more than 10 paid-for Burj properties told The National.

Although Emaar threatened to cut air conditioning and lift service over the weekend, they didn’t, because legally they can’t – according to a lawyer who spoke with The National.

“Owners and tenants cannot be legally prevented from entering their property,  Devanand Mahadev told the paper. “The building facilitator cannot shut down need-to-have facilities like electricity, water and access to the lifts.”  Only the service provider, in this case DEWA, has that ability.

While Emaar works out this dispute with owners who have not paid their fees, many residents will be denied access to luxury amenities; consequently, some have expressed a desire to seek new, more secure accommodation. 

:: The National

Burj Khalifa image / Shutterstock

About Tafline Laylin

As a tour leader who led “eco-friendly” camping trips throughout North America, Tafline soon realized that she was instead leaving behind a trail of gas fumes, plastic bottles and Pringles. In fact, wherever she traveled – whether it was Viet Nam or South Africa or England – it became clear how inefficiently the mandate to re-think our consumer culture is reaching the general public. Born in Iran, raised in South Africa and the United States, she currently splits her time between Africa and the Middle East. Tafline can be reached at tafline (at) greenprophet (dot) com, @teakettle22, http://www.facebook.com/tafline.laylin

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