Some investors of JLT’s Laguna Tower refusing possession

Developer IFA Hotels and Resorts ready to begin phased handover of project amidst demands for compensation over delays

IFA Hotels and Resorts, the developer of Laguna Tower in Jumeirah Lakes Tower (JLT), is finally set to commence a phased handover of the project from June-end, Emirates 24|7 can reveal.

However, some investors are refusing to take handover, citing unjustified delay (actual completion date as per sales agreement: October 2007), while others are seeking compensation — which the developer has ruled out.

“We will start the handover at the end of quarter two and it will be a phased handover that will take three to four months,” a spokesperson from IFA Hotels & Resorts said.

She said: “Despite our best efforts we have not received any compensation for building delays from concerned authorities to pass along to clients.”

The delay, according to the company, was due to numerous factors, which it says were mostly outside their control and related to infrastructure in the master development (JLT).

“We also faced challenges resulting from the knock-on effect some of our contractors suffered after the economic crisis.

“Those factors that were within our control have been addressed.”

She added: “As with all IFA Hotels & Resorts’ projects in the region, we continued to build throughout the slow-down when other developers stopped.”

An investor, on conditions of anonymity, claimed the tower was to be completed by October 2007, but the completion date was extended by a year as per the sales and purchase agreement.

He, however, maintained he hasn’t been informed about the handover and is now not interested in taking possession because of the unsubstantiated delay.

“I am not in default,” he argues.

“Till date, the company has failed to deliver possession of my units.

“I have run out of patience and want to terminate my agreement. I want a full refund along with interest.”

The investor has paid in excess of Dh3 million for his apartments in the tower.

In an email sent to an investor, the company claimed that the sale agreement for completion date can be extended for a period of 12 months, but can be further extended as a result of force majeure.

“Thus, if there are (for example) force majeure events which can be established for a period totaling two years, the completion date is extended two years, in addition to the previous 12 months extension.”

AK, another investor, who just gave his initials, said he would be taking possession of his apartment, however, wants the developer to compensate him.

“We are charged interest for delayed payments… penalties are there for bounced cheques,” he stressed, adding, “Then why not the developer pay us damages or at least cover our maintenance cost for the next three years.”

IFA Hotels and Resorts, which is listed on the Kuwait and Johannesburg stock exchanges, had launched the $100-million, 40-storey Laguna Tower in 2005.

Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts is managing 140 five-star hotel rooms and 28 suites in the tower out of the total 300 units consisting of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, loft apartments, duplexes and penthouses.

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