Why in Dubai's JLT, watchman is king of parking bays

Not all access cards have been collected leaving the decision of whether to allow a resident to park or not, up to the watchman

On July 15 and July 29, the Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT) clusters B and D respectively implemented paid parking access measures that had been announced in previous months, but the confusion is far from over.

To begin with, for the next couple of days, people can still park for free.

Standing in the midday heat, a watchman guards the newly installed barrier in front of a parking garage in Cluster D.

It's a good time as any to be a watchman/security guard in JLT - people are very polite these days.

That is because, he is the 'king of parking' in the development, unless of course, you have an access card.

"Some residents have an access card, but there are still a lot of people who do not," he says.

So for now, people can enter and park based on the testimony that they rent or own an apartment in the cluster. Who is to judge if they are telling the truth? The watchman.

In some cases, the landlord has not paid for the card, so the tenant does not have access.

Others have applied, but have not yet received the card.

Yaqoob Karyni, an Emirati resident in Cluster D says that he rents his apartment through a real estate company. "They have told me that I need to pay for a parking place. They asked me for Dh5,000. While in other clusters everything was provided free," he says.

"I am not sure if I want to pay that. I might just move back in with my mother," he quips.

Commenting on the current situation, a DMCCA spokesperson says: "The full complement of access cards (plus extras) was provided by DMCCA to tower representatives in advance of the activation dates for each cluster. 

"There was, therefore, no delay in DMCCA handing over access cards to tower representatives.The delay is in unit owners contacting tower representatives to finalise their parking arrangements or to collect their access cards."

While DMCCA oversees the JLT project in its entirety, the sub-developer of each individual tower is responsible for the allocation of the parking bays.

These bays are to be allocated to owners and commercial entities. If the owner has a tenant, parking access should be clarified in the tenancy contract.

How many parking places are allocated to whom and at which price is left to the sub-developer, which results in different policies for different buildings.

Furthermore, allocation can differ depending on the agreement between landlord and tenant.

"End users were informed via a variety of means including signage at each entry to the clusters (B and D) and fliers which DMCCA at its own expense printed and distributed on parked vehicles, advising of the date of activation as well as the method to obtain an access card from tower representatives," says the DMCCA spokesperson emphasizing that this was complementary work done by DMCCA."

"People at DMCCA are actually quite ramped up that regardless of these efforts communication has still been inefficient."

By monitoring who comes in and out the parking garage, the watchmen have the opportunity to list the units that are not yet provided with access cards.

This information will be shared with tower representatives to identify the owners and tenants/residents that need to negotiate the closing out of arrangements, the spokesperson explains.

While Clusters B and D will soon be operating on the new system, other clusters are not ready yet.

"We are not ready because the parking bays are not allocated to the units yet," tells an Owners Association (OA) board member of another JLT cluster.

"Due to the late handover from DMCCA to sub-developer of the DMCCA bays, we need to have the title deeds updated, and there is a cost for this.

"Once that is paid we can formally allocate the bays, and ask DMCCA for the parking access cards. Then we can start the process of card allocation."

DMCCA says that almost all parking places behind the barriers have currently been handed over to the tower representatives.

"Parking places behind the barriers are committed to particular end users or particular units within the towers. Residual parking outside of the presently installed barriers will accommodate casual and visitor demand."

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