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26 February 2024

New fees for property owners

By Muna Ahmad



Freeehold property owners in Dubai will have to pay two maintenance fees under a new law to be implemented in three months, an official said.

The combined cost is likely to be considerably higher than the single amount currently paid. Anyone who fails to pay could face stiff penalties.

The first fee, a service charge, will be paid to an association of owners of flats or villas in a building or development. And, as now, a fee will be paid to the developer, although this charge may be lower than at present.

The changes are part of the new Strata Law, said Marwan Ahmed bin Ghalita, CEO of Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera). Anyone who refuses to pay the fee to the owners’ association after three warnings will face face stiff penalties.

“The law covers jointly owned buildings,” said bin Ghalita. “It applies to residential and commercial buildings, including hotels and compound villas, in the freehold areas.

“For example, buyers in a freehold residential tower will form an owners’ association as soon as the first flat is registered with Rera. They will then select members of the society to deal with issues relating to the property.

“In a project such as the Burj Dubai there are many residences, offices and hotels. Each property will have a separate owners’ association.

“The new law defines the rights and obligations of project owners, developers, floors owners and flat owners in relation to the use of facilities such as storage areas, car parks, gardens, swimming pools and gates. It also regulates joint services such as building management.”

Bin Ghalita said many owners who currently pay high maintenance fees to developers were receiving poor quality service in return.

“Under the new law the owners’ association will have to pay the service fees into a dedicated account at a bank chosen by the members. The association will then have the option of selecting the company that will look after the maintenance.

“The developer’s fee will be paid through the association and will cover shared facilities such as roads and parks.”