JLT Icon Tower 1 fire: Still no electricity in half of homes

Insurance cover for alternative accommodation up to Dh5,000; Arrangements with Bonnington Hotel and Armada Tower

The notice at the tower informing residents of insurance and alternative accommodation. (Supplied)

Due to the fire that erupted in the mechanical room of Jumeirah Lakes Tower's Icon Tower 1 on Friday morning, nearly half of the apartments are still without electricity. This is the third day the homes are without power and while safety precautions may make it neccessary to keep the power off, residents are facing a great inconvenience.

Given that summer is well and truly here in the UAE staying in an apartment without power is not an option.

There was no official intimation as to how long it will be before the affected homes have power again.

"As you are aware, there was an electrical fire in the tower this morning, which has left all apartments from the 18th to the 32nd floor without electricity," read a notice sent to the residents by the owners association management company.

"As we have a Strata Insurance Policy, we are pleased to advise that each apartment on these floors is eligible to a one-time insurance payment of Dh5,000 on a reimbursement basis," it continued.

"This means that residents will be reimbursed with the costs of their alternative accommodation, with a maximum of Dh5,000.

“If the costs are less, than the residents will see the reimbursement of these costs," explained Naveed Akhtar, who represents the maintenance company for the duped residents.

A price arrangement has been made with Bonnington Hotel and Armada Tower, both located in Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT).

While a one-bedroom apartment in Bonnington Hotel can be rented for Dh600 a night, a studio apartment in Armada Tower will be available for Dh484 per night, informed the notice.

Residents may stay in any other accommodation and will still be reimbursed.

Whether the maximum of Dh5,000 will cover the total costs made for the alternative accommodation is unclear, as it is not known when the electricity in the apartments will be back.

"I do not expect that people will reach Dh5,000. I do not think the restoration work will take longer than 10 days," said Naveed.

Residents are in the dark, and hesitant to fully utilise the option.

"We noticed that a lot of people booked for one or two nights only, because they do not have an idea how long they will need to stay here," said a staff member in Bonnington Hotel.

The hotel confirmed to have received 11 bookings on Friday afternoon.

Leila A, who owns and lives in an apartment on the 30th floor of the tower, said she decided to stay with friends, because the arrangement was too unclear.

"We do not know for how long we need to stay. And we do not know when we will be reimbursed. We have to pay upfront, and we might only see the money back after some weeks."

Tahira Naseem (31) who lives on the 32nd floor of Icon Tower arrived at Bonnington Hotel on Friday night, but was not sure how to deal with the situation.

"I have just been informed that we have to pay upfront. I am not sure if that is common sense. What if somebody does not have this amount of money?"

Furthermore, residents are reimbursed a maximum of Dh5,000 per apartment, and the amount will only come to the person on the tenancy contract.

"There are many people who share the apartments in the building, so we do not know how many people actually live there. If there are more people in one apartment, they have to share the reimbursement," clarified Naveed.

This may cause a problem when opting for the suggested hotel apartments, as the prices are based on rooms with limited occupancy.

In Bonnington Hotel, the arranged price of Dh600 is for a one-bedroom apartment, which can be rented by a maximum of two people.

A room for 2 adults and 2 children would cost Dh1,200, informed the hotel.

In order to have the costs of the accommodation reimbursed, residents are required to present the original payment receipt of no more than Dh5,000, a copy of a valid tenancy contract, the title deed of the apartment and a passport copy of the tenant and the owner.

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