Residents living in the Shoreline apartments on Nakheel’s flagship Palm Jumeirah will be charged up to AED5,000 a year to access the building’s beach clubs, as the troubled Dubai developer moves to privatise the project’s facilities.
Details of the scheme, which would see tenants pay to access the development’s gym, pool and private beach, were presented by subsidiary Nakheel Marine & Leisure at a residents’ meeting.
The plan is yet to be finalised but it is understood it could be announced within a week.
Nakheel Marine & Leisure plans to charge non-residents AED12,000 for membership in a bid to subsidise lower fees for tenants. The company is currently upgrading the site’s beach and gym facilities.
Annual membership for a family of four living in the Shoreline project is understood to be AED5,000 and to offer full access to the beach club.
It is unclear whether Nakheel has secured approval from Dubai’s Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) to privatise Shoreline’s beach and pool access. The government-owned developer is in dispute with homeowners over who owns the rights to the clubs, which has led to owners being billed separately for maintenance charges linked to the pools and beach facilities.
RERA and Nakheel declined to comment when contacted by Arabian Business.
The move has enraged tenants on the palm-shaped island who argue that they bought their properties on the premise they would have access to the pools, gyms and private beach.
“It’s all very well giving us with a figure but there are lots of legal issues that need addressing. When I rented my flat the estate agent promised me full beach access and now I’m being told I have to pay additional costs just because someone thinks it’s a good idea,” one resident said.
Residents’ membership fees are significantly cheaper than those charged by other beach clubs in Dubai. Membership for a family of four at Dubai Marine Resort is AED17,000 while luxury hotel Le Meridien Mina Seyahi charges AED36,000 for two adults and two children to use its leisure facilities on an annual basis.
Service fees and additional charges have become a particular bone of contention between developers and homeowners since the collapse of Dubai’s real estate market in late-2008.
Developers who once saw millions of dollars in profit during Dubai’s real estate boom have struggled to stay afloat after the emirate’s property bubble burst, leading buyers to accuse companies of charging inflated fees for building upkeep in a bid to maintain a revenue stream.
The beach club charges may deter tenants from renting Shoreline properties at a time when lease rates across Dubai are falling, said Craig Plumb, head of research at Jones Lang LaSalle MENA.
“With vacancies up at the range of about 25 percent for all residential units at the moment and around 5,000-10,000 additional units to finish this year, there is going to be more choice and people are going to vote with their feet,” he told Arabian Business.
“It’s obviously too late for those people who have already bought but the people that are in the market now are going to be choosing those projects where you get a pool and a car park space included in the price,” he said.
Tenants living at the Tiara Residence on the Palm Jumeirah were told last month their families and guests must pay AED200 to use the pool, gym and beach at the weekends. Developer Zabeel Properties said in a circular to residents that the move was measure to reduce overcrowding.
Dubai Properties Group told Arabian Business in September that tenants in its $1.6bn Jumeirah Beach Residence development would have to pay for access to its long-awaited beach club when it opens this year.