International Property News

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Dubai Property owners are facing legal limbo as developers prematurely withdraw their maintenance services in anticipation of owners taking over the building’s upkeep, a property lawyer said.

Property "Owner associations" (OA) waiting for registration have been left unable to pay bills, collect service fees or manage maintenance contracts after developers relinquished responsibility for building upkeep, said  Brent Baldwin, an associate at Dubai’s Hadef & Partners.

“It’s a no-man’s land. Some developers want to get out and they’re trying to leave the owners to it. But [until registered] owners don’t have the legal status to do it so they need the developer to be involved.”

A number of buildings have seen cooling and electricity services cut-off as confusion over bill payments and maintenance fee collection delays the settlement of outstanding invoices.

“What does an owner do?” Baldwin said. “There isn’t a lot they can do, apart from try to run it themselves and take on the personal risk or try and convince the developer to stay involved.”

Under strata law, owner associations (OA) are entitled to oversee the maintenance budgets and contracts of their properties, but must be registered with the emirate’s land department.
Dubai Land Department said earlier this month it had registered 218 OA in the emirate and expected a 70 percent rise in owner-managed properties by the end of the year.
Without DLD registration, OA’s have no legal standing, meaning they cannot open a bank account, pay bills or hire contractors to oversee building maintenance.

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