My family and I have completed two years in our villa and we have not had hot water for 10 months. We have had to drive and take showers at gyms and hotels or have cold showers. My daughter and I have had to get our hair washed at salons. We have had two major water leaks in those two years from the water tanks, which are the landlord’s responsibility, and we have had to cover the DEWA bills for the excess water. We have asked the management company time and time again to compensate us but have received no reply on this matter. After more than five months of no hot water this year, they sent someone to fix the solar panels. Again this did not work and for one day we had no water at all – not even cold. On April 5, we informed them they had breached the contract and therefore we wished to terminate it and move out. Again we received no reply. Instead they turned on an electrical element and told us the solar was working. This was not true. We allowed the workers to come back and fix the solar panels but continued to inform them that our decision had been made. We do now have hot water but at what cost? We are business owners and have been in Dubai for 11 years and we do not want another family to go through what we have gone through. The psychological effect is not to be underestimated – it has been extremely unhygienic and soul destroying for us. There have been countless days where my husband could not go to work because he could not shower. We have a rent cheque due to go out and have informed the management company not to bank the cheque. I have told them that the account is being cancelled as that was the only way to get any kind of reply back from them. They replied and said deposit cash. When you pay over Dh400,000 for a villa, you expect hot water or at least excellent service from the company. SA, Dubai
What an ordeal you have gone through and yes I agree with all your points, this is no way to live or be treated. In short, my advice would be to immediately file a case at the rental dispute committee to get them to allow you to terminate your contract. You are clearly dealing with unreasonable people so the only way forward now would be to remove yourself and your family from this obligation. It does however have to be done in a proper manner. This is why I am suggesting you go to the rent committee to cancel your contract with no penalties or legal consequences on your side from the landlord.
These horror stories do exist but I can happily say that not all landlords or management companies behave in such a non caring way.
Landlords generally understand that they have a moral and legal obligation to their tenants and that the tenants do have the right of quiet enjoyment of the property in return for paying rent.
I have two questions related to air conditioning:
1. I am a landlord of an apartment where I live. I pay the service charge to the management company and separately an AC bill to the management company as well. Recently, the bills have been hiked up by an added “shared common areas” cost without any notification of reason or agreement of the landlords. Shouldn’t such charges for common areas already be part of the service charge?
2. The AC system of the building in common areas regularly gets over-humid during summer months and drops of water leak over ceiling lightings. The management company refuses to fix the fault although it creates danger. Any solutions?
It would appear strange that the said charges for common areas were not already part of the communal service charges, so before paying, I would definitely question this. The other point to make is, how have they arrived at their final figure? All maintenance fees and charges are payable by the landlord/owner so make sure you are totally satisfied with the accounting before proceeding to settle your bill.
The problem with leaks within buildings from chilled water pipes/AC systems is not uncommon throughout the UAE. The management company is responsible for repairs to these leaks in the common areas but again the cost of this often finds its way through to owners’ service charge bills eventually. The normal practice of repairs within private units is however down to the individual owner. I know this doesn’t seem fair but this is the norm.
Mario Volpi is a real estate professional who has worked within the industry for the past 31 years in London and Dubai. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and they do not reflect in any way those of the institutions to which he is affiliated. It does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only. Please send any questions to email@example.com