Why some in this Dubai community will have no AC from next month
Registration deadline for few buildings in Discovery Gardens ends October 31
By Parag Deulgaonkar
Published Monday, October 26, 2015
Apartment owners in some buildings of Discovery Gardens, a neighbourhood close to Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, have got just four working days to complete their registration with Empower, the provider of chiller water to the master community.
Those failing to meet the October 31, 2015, deadline face disconnection, with reconnection taking at least two working days after payment of a Dh1,000 fine.
The notice, dated October 15, 2015, glued to the doors of residents, Empower said: “As per the instructions from Nakheel Owners’ Association (NOA), kindly note that all apartment owners are required to register with Empower (Palm District Cooling), starting October 18, 2015, to avoid disconnection of the cooling services.
“Thus, we hereby request you to register with Empower (Palm District Cooling). Failure to register the unit by October 31 will lead to disconnection of cooling services and subsequently, statutory action will be taken.”
The notice mentioned it was mandatory for all unit owners to get a clearance letter (NOC) from the association before they approach Empower (Palm District Cooling) for the registration process.
“In case of service disconnection, reconnection of service will be done within 48 working hours only after the registration is completed and all outstanding dues are paid on the apartment,” the notice said.
Prior to the above warning, the owners’ association had issued a notice on October 13, 2015, stating: “In line with the initiatives of Nakheel Facilities and Owners’ Association Management to enhance residents comfort, this is to inform that the installation of BTU meters to measure cooling energy and issue consumption bills has been completed for your building. We request all homeowners to clear all outstanding service charges in order to provide NOC.”
Market sources said similar notices have been served to at least four buildings in the master community. The activation of the BTU meters is taking place in phases.
Home owners stated Nakheel, the master developer of Discovery Gardens, was asking them to pay service charge for two quarters (October to December 2015; January to March 2016) upfront at the time of issuing the NOC apart from clearing any pending payments.
Notices put in buildings continued to show the percentage of defaulters in respective buildings though the numbers seem to have come down significantly.
Tenants are worried that landlords, with high dues, are unlikely to pay, which could result in disconnection of air-conditioning.
“Our landlord needs to pay all the charges and ensure that our AC isn’t disconnected. We are paying our rent on time and it is the landlord’s duty of the ensure continuity of service to the apartment,” said Ahmed Sheikh, a resident.
Preeti Singh, another resident, voiced concern, saying, “Our landlord does not live in Dubai and now we are relying on the real estate agent to complete all the formalities. He has asked us to deposit all the money, which he has promised to refund. We have no other option, but to pay up,” she added.
In fact, Nakheel does offer tenants the facility to check the dues of the landlord before the former can sign the rent agreement.
But for K. Arshad, who purchased an apartment in Discovery Gardens in May 2015, there is a new problem.
“I bought the apartment that has been rented out till February 2016. Since we did not sign a new tenancy contract at the time, my tenant is refusing to sign a new contract. And unless I submit the new contract, Empower is not registering my tenant’s name for second billing since the tenant has to pay for consumption,” he asserted.
Palm District Cooling, Kumar said, is taking Dh1,000, as refundable deposit, and Dh700 as quarterly capacity charge (October 18, 2015 to January 18, 2016) upfront from the unit owners.
Back in 2013, Nakheel had commenced the drive to install chiller meters in Discovery Gardens, with the first notice stating installation of chiller meters in each apartment would trigger energy saving, with the buildings becoming more environment friendly and having a potential savings of 15 to 30 per cent of total consumption proven.
The notice had said on average the total cost of cooling a building was Dh410,000 per year, but the new move would allow buildings to save between Dh61,500 and Dh123,000, per year, in energy costs.
Unit owners are currently paying chiller charges of Dh5 to Dh7 per square feet per annum, paid along with the quarterly service charges.
Emirates 24|7 has reported earlier that the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) was asking interim owners’ associations to install separate chiller meters.
The association constitution Clause 65 allows the agency to enforce owners’ association to install separate meters for all units and common areas for all utility service providers and may even enforce the utility service suppliers to separate the utility fees of the common areas from the fee for the unit owners. Besides, the utility service providers are required to submit separate invoices directly to the unit owners and to the owners association for the common property.
Rera has been giving the chiller cost separately in the annual budget for some years now to allow unit owners to pass on the charges to their tenants, in case they wanted the latter to pay.