JLT Tamweel Tower fire victims face pay to stay emergency deal

Tamweel says property insurance cover is arranged by the building’s Owners Association as tower belongs to the owners of the units

Residents of the gutted Tamweel Tower have been given alternative accommodation for a month but they face difficulties as they have to make the initial payments.

On Tuesday morning, residents of Tamweel Tower in Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT) were informed that alternative accommodation had been arranged in different hotel apartments for one month, starting November 20.

The costs of the previous accommodation was settled by DMCC.

The costs of accommodation are covered under the property all-risks cover that the owners’ association of the tower maintains with Arab Orient Insurance Co. But residents have to pay upfront for the accommodation which some of them are not prepared to do.

"I received an SMS that we had to check out of Bonnington Hotel today and move to Time Yassat, Gloria Hotel in Tecom. We have been provided with a hotel apartment for a month," tells Afsanah, who had rented an apartment on the 32st floor of Tamweel Tower.

"But we have to make an upfront payment of Dh10,000 and our landlord is not willing pay it. I do not know where this money will come from," she says.

The Bangladeshi national has been spending the day with her family in the car trying to find a solution for the problem, as they do not have Dh10,000 of cash with them.

Meanwhile, J.B. and her husband have spent the afternoon in the lobby of Gloria Hotel. As per the directive, they checked out of Bonnington Hotel and moved to Tecom. They say they are not willing to settle for the deal.

"It is not that we cannot pay the amount. But we are worried about the reimbursement. Although we are asked to pay an amount of Dh10,000, we will only be reimbursed Dh7,500. Why do we have to pay Dh2,500 from our own pocket?" wonders the British woman, who saw her apartment on the 12th floor go up in flames.

According to a mail sent out by Tamweel Tower Interim Owners Association, the reimbursement of the alternative accommodation depends on the size of their apartment in the burnt tower.

"As you are aware, the owners’ association has obtained Property All Risks cover from Arab Orient Insurance Co. This cover includes reimbursement of the cost of alternative accommodation, subject to a maximum of Dh1,485,520 for all residents together.

"Based on floor area occupied, the total amount  reimbursable works out to approximately Dh7,500 per 2 bedroom small unit, Dh9,075 per 2 bedroom large unit and Dh12,750 per 3 bedroom unit," says the mail.

The same mail also says reimbursement will be processed urgently after owners and residents have settled the bill with the respective hotels and claimed the reimbursement.

"But how can I be guaranteed of the reimbursement?" asks J.B. "The reimbursement will be made to our landlord while we are handing over the amount. There is no contractual agreement securing the reimbursement and there are a lot of unclear things. I contacted my lawyer and he advised me not to pay the amount under any circumstances."

While some residents are struggling with the initial payment, others are finding it difficult to accept the accommodation. "Our tenants are provided a 2-bedroom apartment, while they are four tenants. They do not know where to accommodate the remaining two tenants and asked us for assistance. But we are not in a position to do anything because we are in the same boat," tells Sumita, who used to live on the 30th floor of the gutted tower.

"We were initially provided with a studio apartment, although we used to rent a two-bedroom apartment in Tamweel Tower. We may be two people, but we are expecting visitors and cannot not accommodate them in a studio," adds J.B.

"What is most frustrating to me is that there is nobody here to assist us. We were sent to the new location and expected to pay. There is nobody here to welcome us or answer our questions. Everything is completely unclear," he said.

Though the insurance policy does not cover the cost offood and beverages, Tamweel has offered to reimburse the food and beverage cost of the unit owners upto a maximum limit of Dh3,500 per unit during the first week after the fire (that is, from 18 to 24 November).

A Tamweel spokesperson said: "Property Insurance cover for Tamweel Tower is arranged by the building’s Owners Association. Tamweel is not the owner of the building. In reality the tower belongs to the owners of the units. All 160 residential units within the building are privately owned with title deeds registered in the Dubai Land department in the name of the owners. Tamweel has ownership of the four commercial floors and retail space.

“The Owners Association was formed under regulation of RERA and approved by RERA in 2010. The Owners Association had appointed a five-person board, including a representative from Tamweel, to oversee day-to-day running of the building. The Board of the Owners Association had taken all-risk insurance from Arab Orient Insurance Company and the premium payment was made from the building maintenance fee which was paid by the owners.

“The total value of the insurance for alternative accommodation is Dh1.485 million and this has been allocated to the unit owners in proportion of their unit area. Under the terms of the policy, this is on reimbursement basis.

“Although provision of alternative accommodation is not legally within the purview of Tamweel, the company is supporting the building’s residents by liaising with the insurance company. Furthermore, Tamweel has waived its rights to any claims under the alternate accommodation clause of the insurance policy in favour of other owners,” the spokesperson said.

Tamweel Tower residents to get free replacement ID cards

Meanwhile, the Emirates Identity Authority has said it will replace free of charge the ID cards lost in the recent fire in JLT Tamweel Tower.

The fire-affected residents of the tower can approach Eida’s registration centre in Al Barsha and apply for a replacement card without any fee. The new card will be issued within a nfew days.

Earlier, Eida had exempted victims of the fire in the Baker 4 Tower in Sharjah from fee for replacement of their ID cards.




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