Discovery Gardens owners in service charge protest
Petition against Nakheel to be submitted to RERA
Owners in Discovery Gardens have united together, in an effort to force Nakheel into further reducing service charges for the development.
More than 90 tenants who attended an unofficial owners group meeting on Saturday signed a petition, that this week will be delivered to both RERA and the Ruler’s Office by group co-ordinator Michael Aldendorff.
According to the petition, the “exorbitant charges are further more dubious due to the unsatisfactory level of building maintenance that has been carried out by Nakheel over the past year, as well as the failure to deliver on contractual common facilities such as the swimming pools, which have yet to be completed a year after handover of the development.”
Standing beneath the broken air-conditioning and a large patch of ceiling mould in the communal lobby of one of the Discovery Gardens buildings, Aldendorff said, “All we’re trying to do is get what we paid for.” He urged residents not to withhold payments from Nakheel, saying “Rebelling and not paying will have a negative effect on negotiations.”
Nakheel had previously revised rates, which come into force on 1st October 2009 at a total of AED22 per square foot. Charges at some other developments in Dubai are lower, such as JBR, where the total charge is around AED15 per square foot.
However, a spokesperson for Nakheel said that cooling charges at other developments only took into account communal areas, and did not include apartments. “The Discovery Gardens service charges include all apartment district cooling charges; which are not set by Nakheel, but amount to just under a third of the total costs,” she explained.
"Building service charges fees for the next fiscal year (commencing 1st October 2009) are not finalised and are subject to RERA approval. We continuously review service charges to ensure that owners receive the best service for their fees. Any savings which can be made are then passed on to the owners, such as the case earlier this year when we passed on a service charges saving of AED5 per square foot. When district cooling charges are removed, the current service charges are approximately AED14 per square foot,” said the spokesperson. She said that money for facilities paid for but not delivered during the financial year would be returned in the form of a service charge credit.
Brochures for Discovery Gardens have promised gyms, pools, running tracks and soccer pitches which have yet to be handed over. A Nakheel spokesperson pointed out that “a number of amenities, including children’s play areas, basketball and tennis courts have been delivered.” Nakheel said facilities such as the pools are included in the forthcoming revised charges in anticipation of their delivery shortly, in line with international norms.