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Is it worth it


									                                                                                                    resiDenTial_ CommuNity life 15

Deepthi Nair, Sub editor

Is it worth it?                                                                              We provide a platform for agents and residents to
                                                                                            size up some prominent communities in Dubai in
                                                                                            terms of service charges and facilities offered.

                 Discovery GarDens                                       The Greens (emaar)                                     vicTory heiGhTs
                 (Nakheel)                                                                                                      (Dubai SportS City)

Agent            Mohammad Muneeb khan, Better Homes                      Joanna Cook, Ocean View Real estate                    Marc shiel, Ocean View Real estate

service          Dh19 per square foot, inclusive of district cooling.    Dh19 per square foot.                                  Currently, no services fees have been asked for.
charges                                                                                                                         This will change once the facilities are handed
                                                                                                                                over and they are estimated at Dh5.5 on the built-
                                                                                                                                up area.

Facilities       Access to the Mediterranean clusters is difficult       All facilities have been delivered and comprise        There are parks, jogging tracks and barbecue
yet to be        because after the first traffic signal, there is only   swimming pools, gym, barbecue areas, basketball        areas. A pool, gym and basketball courts are to be
delivered        one roundabout located where these clusters             courts and children’s play areas.                      delivered soon.
                 end, causing huge traffic jams. The development
                 also lacks adequate security and facilities such as
                 gyms and swimming pools.

Investor         Primarily buy-to-let investors; however, this will      The Greens is a well-established community             Upon launch, there was everyone from overseas
profile          change in the future because more expat tenants         and attracts families and young professionals.         investors to end-users. Now, there are more
                 are considering DG as a reasonable investment           The Greens is also an ideal and popular location       owner-occupiers while the remaining are renters.
                 thanks to its competitive prices, proximity to the      for buy-to-let investors as apartments are occupied
                 beach and Ibn Battuta Mall. In addition, there are      very quickly.
                 a growing number of Discovery Gardens tenants
                 who work in Abu Dhabi and still want to live in
                 Dubai — DG gives them an affordable option.

ResIdent         praveen Mehta, board member                             Victor sopovski, owner-occupier                        Lindsey Russel, owner-occupier
speAk            An apartment community like Discovery Gardens           The service fees are quite reasonable, however,        There are no service charges since the first
                 should have service charges only in the range of        the response mechanism to complaints is quite          villa was handed over in March 2009. Payment
                 Dh10-12 per square foot. The swimming pool has          tardy. Also, owing to several overseas investors       for the upkeep of the master community has
                 been a big disappointment, yet it is being billed       turning into service fee defaulters, local residents   been done by Dubai Sports City and Victory
                 to us. Also, Nakheel seems to have handed over          in The Greens are suffering since street lights        Heights so far. Facilities yet to be delivered are
                 certain tennis courts in Discovery Gardens to a         are not being maintained and this results in           two community pools that are currently under
                 tennis academy and hence they are always out of         pitch dark walkways. Despite Emaar framing             construction and the Golf Clubhouse. Completion
                 bounds for owners like me. The board members            strict rules for garbage disposal by owners of         of the roundabouts under construction on
                 of the interim owners’ association (OA) have            pets, these are being flouted and mars the levels      Emirates Road will also make access more
                 submitted our documents to Nakheel, who, in             of hygiene in children’s play areas. Though the        appealing. Garbage bins are emptied often,
                 turn, has not conveyed its progress on submitting       Dubai Police fine wrongly parked cars in The           traffic is co-ordinated well when there are cricket
                 documentation to the Real Estate Regulatory             Greens, they seem to be turning a blind eye to         tournaments. There are no traffic snarls inside the
                 Agency. However, once OAs get a legal standing,         the reckless taxi drivers who are wreaking havoc       community as there are only approximately 700
                 I don’t believe it’s a good approach to stop using      in an otherwise peaceful community.                    villas. The landscaping is very well-looked after.
                 the services of Nakheel Asset Management                                                                       Security is OK but could be better; a surrounding
                 immediately. Until we zero down on a strong                                                                    fence is yet to be put in place. This should be done
                 alternative, we need to work with the existing                                                                 at the end of March. There are currently three
                 company and remove inefficiencies and high                                                                     exits at Victory Heights. Dubai Sports City Facility
                 management fees.                                                                                               Management looks after the community.

 16 resiDenTial _ CommuNity life                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            resiDenTial 17

                Dubai marina                                         Jumeirah beach resiDence                                Jumeirah islanDs                                                                                                                   arabian ranches                                          Palm Jumeirah                                            Jumeirah lakes Towers
                (emaar)                                              (Dubai propertieS Group)                                (Nakheel)                                                                                                                          (emaar)                                                  (Nakheel)                                                (Dubai multi CommoDitieS CeNtre)

  Agent         Benjamin thomas, Fine & Country                      Benjamin thomas, Fine & Country                         Joyce Jomon-elion, Fine & Country                                                                                     Agent        natalie grigorchuk, Fine & Country                       Rita Mouawad, Better Homes                               Leah James, Better Homes
  speAk                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            speAk

  service       They vary depending on the building — the lowest     Dh15.32 per square foot, inclusive of master            Dh3.5 per square foot for all villas or Dh18,324                                                                      service      Dh14-16 per square foot based on plot. This is an        The average is Dh18-25 per square foot per annum.        Dh11,000 to Dh15,000 per year (depending on the
  charges       is Dh9 per square foot; the average is Dh14 per      community charges, excluding chiller charges.           per annum (for maintenance, security, cleaning of                                                                     charges      all-inclusive fee. Arabian Ranches does not have         Golden Mile — Dh18 per square foot, Shoreline            tower). The service fees tend to be inclusive of the
                square foot. Some buildings have chilling included                                                           lakes, landscaping, etc).                                                                                                          district cooling.                                        — Dh20 per square foot, and Marina Residences            master community charges and include district
                in the service charges, some do not. All Emaar                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           — Dh25 per square foot. As of January, Rera (Real        cooling charges; the tenants have to pay for this,
                buildings have chilling fee included.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Estate Regulatory Agency) has set the new service        and if the unit is vacant then the owner continues
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         fees for the Palm at Dh10.8 per square foot.             to pay.

  Facilities    Completion/extension of the Marina Walk still        The community health and beach clubs were               The clubhouse is open now. The restaurant                                                                             Facilities   All facilities have been delivered. In fact, it is one   Many projects on the Palm are still under                The community is still growing and developing.
  yet to be     needs to be completed. As a result, several retail   promised on launch. There are rumours going             and pool area have opened first and the gym                                                                           yet to be    of the most well-developed communities with              construction — particularly on The Crescent. So,         Some buildings like X1 and X2 have been waiting
  delivered     spaces and restaurants which were advertised         around that they will be built soon, but that’s been    and lounge bar within the clubhouse will open                                                                         delivered    excellent infrastructure and facilities.                 not all facilities have been completed yet. The town     for the post-completion handover for almost a
                still awaiting their opening.                        said for the past three years.                          later. There is no formal entrance to Jumeirah                                                                                                                                              centre and marina yacht club have been cancelled.        year because the master developer has yet to
                                                                                                                             Islands with good access control. There are two                                                                                                                                                                                                      construct the podium.
                                                                                                                             unfinished developments within Jumeirah Islands
                                                                                                                             — Jumeirah Heights and the JI Mansions. There                                                                         Investor     Owner-occupiers and buy-to-let investors.                Apartment owners are primarily overseas                  They are overseas investors and buy-to-let
                                                                                                                             have been many disappointed JI residents who                                                                          profile                                                               investors; the majority of villa owners are end-         investors. In JLT, there isn’t a significant amount
                                                                                                                             feel that five years on, they still have not been                                                                                                                                           users; the remainder is buyers choosing to rent.         of owner-occupiers.
                                                                                                                             delivered the community they were promised.

  Investor      The majority are buy-to-let investors, then          Overseas investors and buy-to-let investors.            The majority are owner-occupiers with
  profile       overseas investors, then owner-occupiers.                                                                    a keen interest in their own property and the
                                                                                                                             JI development.

  ResIdent      sid, investor                                        sylvia Christensen, investor                            Mustafa, Iranian investor                                                                                             ResIdent     Laura Watts, homeowner                                   Ludmila Yamalova, board chairman                         Mohammad nafees
  speAk         Facilities in Dubai Marina are comparable to         The problem with service charges at JBR is that         The service charges are reasonable since the                                                                          speAk        Considering the service charges in other                 tiara Residence                                          The average service charge being levied by
                international standards. The service fees might      there was a substantial increase after the first year   cost of maintaining the landscaping and lakes                                                                                      communities managed by Nakheel and Union                 Although the service fee set by the developer is         developers is between Dh10-Dh18 per square
                rise after April once owners’ associations get a     to more than double the amount (Dh21.75 per             in the master community is quite expensive.                                                                                        Properties, I believe the service fees in the            Dh21.95 per square foot, Rera has approved only          foot. It includes master community charges
                legal status. Most towers have reached the end       square foot). They did provide a breakdown of how       Only the clubhouse and the formal entrance to                                                                                      Ranches are very reasonable and Emaar                    Dh19. We need to have a clearly defined JOPD             and chiller charges for the common areas. For
                of the three-year developer guarantee period         the money would be used — almost half (Dh9.40           Jumeirah Islands have been delayed. Though                                                                                         Community Management is doing a good job                 (Jointly Owned Property Declaration) to know             individual units, there are separate meters,
                and will need considerable investment in terms       per square foot) was to be for utilities — Empower      water in the lakes were earlier filled with algae,                                                                                 at it. However, the service fee has doubled over         which agency is responsible for what works on the        and each unit holder has to pay his own bill.
                of addressing the wear and tear of equipment.        and Dewa. However, the fee still seemed excessive.      fumigation is carried out quite frequently now                                                                                     the past few years. When we are invoiced on the          Palm. We have very few convenience stores on the         Most developers have set up their affiliated
                A few developers in Dubai Marina have not            The question comes up as to how they could have         and birds and fish are thriving. We don’t face a                                                                                   service fees, we are not given a breakdown of            Palm and the Monorail is also quite useless as it        maintenance companies and have given
                delivered the squash courts and swimming             so drastically miscalculated the maintenance costs      swarm of mosquitoes too these days. However,                                                                                       costs. However, the maintenance and security             takes us to nowhere in particular. There are also        maintenance contracts to them at a higher rate.

                                                                                                                                                                                  images: aNm archives/kishore kumar, Silvia baron & Grace paras
                pools that were promised during the project          from 2007 to 2009. We are hoping that with the          there is no proper supervision of the construction                                                                                 staff are well-trained and I’ve never seen any           no proper access roads on the Palm for residents’        Now since business activity is low, these contracts
                launch. By and large, most Emaar buildings           involvement of the owners’ associations, there will     work in Jumeirah Heights and this poses a long-                                                                                    gardens or roads left unmaintained. We have all          convenience. We also have no community hubs on           can be renegotiated at a lower rate to bring down
                in the Marina are top quality and are well-          be an assessment and that this will bring about a       term inconvenience to residents like me. We                                                                                        facilities possible — a clinic, a community centre       the Palm, in terms of parks and sidewalks where          the service charges. The master community is
                maintained. However, a few towers are manned         fair maintenance fee. The original residence map        are always forced to take a detour of the entire                                                                                   with shops, a golf club, mosques and a school.           families can take a stroll. Even the retail and office   still under development. Lakes are being filled
                by unprofessional building managers and have,        given at the time of handover showed planned            community owing to the barricades put up near                                                                                      But, it would have helped residents if the spa, gym      facilities promised on the Golden Mile are yet to be     and landscaping is being done. Roads are being
                therefore, lagged behind in quality.                 fitness clubs — one in each sector for Shams,           the construction site.                                                                                                             and equestrian centre were located within the            delivered in full. Most residents aren’t happy with      made. The road network is particularly poor, with
                                                                     Amwaj, Rimal, Bahar, Murjan and two in Sadaf                                                                                                                                               Ranches and not across the road.                         the service fees since the quality of facilities don’t   only one exit which is very crowded in the evening.
                                                                     — and four beach clubs. The key cards that were                                                                                                                                                                                                     seem to correspond.                                      Further, one has to take a full circle of JLT to move
                                                                     given were also to permit entrance to the fitness                                                                                                                                          Fred Watts, board member, interim OA                                                                              from one point to another within the community.
                                                                     clubs for residents. Nothing was said about a fee                                                                                                                                          In return for the service fee we pay, we have a                                                                   Developers are delaying registering the OA and
                                                                     for use at time of purchase. On handover, we were                                                                                                                                          clubhouse which houses the Arabian Ranches                                                                        are blaming the Rera instead. I am also a member
                                                                     told that the fitness clubs were yet to be finished.                                                                                                                                       Golf Club, a shopping centre, the Jumeirah English                                                                of one of the Emaar community associations, as
                                                                     The fitness clubs and beach park were all part of                                                                                                                                          Speaking School, a fully equipped medical centre                                                                  per which it will take about one year to get the
                                                                     promoting and selling JBR as a desirable lifestyle                                                                                                                                         and a mosque. Once the OAs have been registered,                                                                  registration done due to stringent requirements
                                                                     community. The response system in place is good.                                                                                                                                           it will be difficult to find an alternative to Emaar                                                              by Rera. Rera should, instead, make it easy and
                                                                     All complaint calls are logged with a reference                                                                                                                                            Community Management and match what they                                                                          straightforward to register an association while
                                                                     number. The response time is, however, sometimes                                                                                                                                           have done in terms of outsourcing service contracts.                                                              other requirements of filing drawings and plans
                                                                     lengthy — days and weeks — due to limited staff.                                                                                                                                           However, we will undertake a due diligence exercise                                                               can be done later.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                to remove any slackness in the system.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

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