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Dubai tenants can file lawsuits if building services discontinued: Rera

Owners' associations not allowed to cut, block services to joint ownership areas

22 June 2014
Dubai's Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) has advised tenants, who have been affected by the discontinuation of building services, to file a lawsuit against the parties responsible with the rental dispute settlement committee.

"Any tenant affected by the cutting of building services is entitled to open a lawsuit against the party responsible at the Rental Dispute Settlement (the judicial arm of Dubai Land Department) as these practices are not permitted under Law 27 of 2007," Rera said in an emailed statement sent to Emirates 24|7.

The regulatory agency said that building management parties, whether developers or corporate services administrative supervisors of the owners associations, should visit Rera to submit their proposed service charge fees for the buildings managed by them.

"This is a mandatory requirement so that Rera can review, approve or modify the charges as necessary. Building management must pay the service charges approved by Rera under Law 27 of 2007. They are not permitted to set service charge fees without first undertaking this procedure and receiving Rera approval," the agency added.

But when specifically asked if the law gives a district cooling company the right to disconnect the chilled water supply for the entire building, Rera said it is not permissible to cut the services for "joint ownership areas".

"It is not permissible to cut the services for joint ownership areas. If the services are cut, the damaged party (tenant) should undertake the specified procedures outlined under law No. 27 of 2007 that covers joint ownership areas for property in the emirate of Dubai and relates to the blocking of units where building management fails to pay their service charges.

"Circulation No.1 of 2014 outlines that owners' associations are not allowed to set service charge fees before having them approved by Rera. It also affirms that owners' associations (OAs) are not allowed to cut or block services to joint ownership areas."

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Rera said they (OAs) are not permitted to undertake any other activity other than those set out in article No. 25 law under law No. 27 of 2007 relating to joint ownership areas of property in Dubai.

The agency further said that with specific regards to the district cooling company, one needs to review the Regulatory and Supervisory Bureau at the Supreme Council of Energy, which is the regulatory body for energy in Dubai.

There have been many cases where developers or district cooling companies have threatened to discontinue services if property owners don't pay their dues.

The recent case reported by Emirates 24|7 was in Discovery Gardens where residents of two buildings were threatened of chilled water supply being cut off unless defaulters paid, but later no such harsh step was taken.

© Emirates 24|7 2014

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