DUBAI // An impasse over owners associations in a Dubai Marina tower has been eased through the creation of a dedicated bank account for service fees overseen by the Government.

Some owners at the apartment building had refused to pay service fees to their developer. They claimed the money would be misspent, though other owners accused them of simply not wanting to pay.

In turn, the owners in arrears were barred from participating in the election of their owners’ association board of directors.
The Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) and the developer helped arrange a compromise by offering owners in arrears the option to pay their fees into a bank account overseen by the Dubai Land Department (DLD). The Government promised to hold the money until the OA was established, then hand it over to the group.

“Service charges […] will be held in trust by DLD until the owners association [has] completed its registration process. Please make cheques payable to Dubai Land Department,” Rera said in a letter.

Four owners in the Dubai Marina tower took advantage of the offer, though some did not pay the full amount and were still left out of the election, said one owner, Tinboat Arslanouk.

Still, the option removed the excuse for them not to pay, he said: “This is better in terms of putting pressure on the issue.”
The developer was not available to comment.

Residents at other Dubai developments have had standoffs with their developers over unpaid fees and a resulting ban from owners’ association elections.

Under the emirate’s Strata Law, the election of a board of directors is only a first step in the months-long process of forming an owner association to take control of maintenance and fees from developers.

It was unclear whether the third-party bank account solution had been offered to owners in other buildings where services fees remain in dispute.

Rera did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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