Tenants can't be barred from common areas

Nakheel, one of Dubai’s largest property developers, has no right to deny residents of Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah access to communal facilities by turning them into exclusive clubs, according to Real Estate Regulatory Authority (Rera), the emirate’s property regulator.

Earlier this month, Nakheel banned more than 1,300 residents on its Palm-shaped island project from using the beaches, pools and gyms in the first stage of a controversial plan to charge for the use of facilities.

The developer was seeking residents to pay up an additional Dh5,000 dirhams a year per residential unit for access to these parts of the man- made island, leaflets distributed by the property major showed.

“By law, no one can stop an owner or a registered tenant from using the communal areas once they have paid service fees,” Marwan bin Ghalita, chief executive officer of Dubai’s Rera, told newswire Bloomberg in an interview. “If you bought something based on an agreement with a developer, he can’t change it,” he said.

“I cannot make everybody happy,” is what the Nakheel Chairman had to say last month when Emirates 24|7 asked him about the beach access fee to be imposed on residents of Nakheel’s Shoreline apartments on the Palm Jumeirah.

“Read your contracts. We checked legally ... went to Rera. We abide by the law and respect the law,” Nakheel Chairman Ali Lootah told this website.

Nakheel had warned ‘defaulting’ owners or tenants living in Shoreline Apartments at Palm Jumeirah that their access to communal facilities would be taken away, and even threatened them with arrest if they failed to comply with its direction.

With a number of people staying in each of those apartments, the actual number of residents affected by Nakheel’s plan was around 3,000.

According to a resident-owner of a Shoreline apartment, from December 1 onwards, all residents have to produce a “new” photo access card to use the Shoreline facilities, while the guests will be charged on a “per day basis”. This includes beach access from the apartments.

Some residents have claimed that Nakheel plans to open up membership for these facilities to non-tenants at Dh12,000 per year.

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