Dubai has given approval to 78 homeowners associations in the emirate since January as buyers move to take control of their buildings, the head of the real estate watchdog has said.
A total of 228 associations have been registered, said Marwan bin Ghalaita, CEO of RERA, allowing the groups to legally open bank accounts, pay bills and hire contractors to manage the maintenance of their building.Homeowners must receive a letter of no-objection from Dubai police to join the board of their association, said Ghalaita.
“You can’t be a board member if you don’t get a clearance certificate from the police. But you can join the home owners association as you are a home owner,” he said.
Dubai Land Department said in June it expected a 70 percent rise in owner-managed properties by the end of the year, but analysts said the overall figure remained low.
“It’s obviously progress but there is a lot more properties,” said Craig Plumb, of real estate consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle.
“There would be in the thousands of projects where there would need to be a homeowners association created so this is still a relatively small proportion of the total.”
House prices in Dubai, the Gulf’s worst-performing market in the last three years, have fallen more than 60 percent from their peak in late-2008.
Service fees have been a particular bone of contention between developers and homeowners, with buyers accusing developers of charging inflated fees for building upkeep.
In projects such as Nakheel’s Discovery Gardens and the Palm Jumeirah, default rates on service charges among homeowners are estimated to be as high as 50 percent.
Future buyers may favour buildings with approved homeowner associations as supply across the city increases and the issue of service charges comes to the fore, said Plumb.
“It shows that the process is starting to work and more home owners associations are being registered,” he said. “The whole issue of service charges and management is going to become much more important for the residential market over the next few years.”
Jones Lang LaSalle said in June it expects a further 18,000 new homes to hit Dubai’s saturated market by the end of the year.
“With increased competition….the projects that have the best management and the most reasonable service charges are going to be the ones that will attract tenants,” he said.
Strata law, which allows property owners to take control of the upkeep of their building, was outlined in a decree 2007 but only implemented in Dubai in May last year.
From / Arabian Business News