Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Initial meeting with EMAAR representatives

We were unable to meet with the managing director of EMAAR today and met with a representative "Jivan D'mello" and Hampton's representative Wahida karama.
Intially they were not willing to compromise on any topic - except that there is a possibility of extending the deadline (but even that they were unable to confirm by how much).

We stressed all our points as follows:

- Extension of time is a must FOR ALL and not on one to one basis. They must revert asap as people are already are chasing for update and must clarify way forward.
Their response was that they cannot confirm anything until they discuss with management but would confirm by tonight - they have since called us and said one week extension confirmed. We have stressed that this is not sufficient and minimum of 2weeks should be considered.

Wahida the Hampton's representative has agreed that she will discuss with management and revert to us by tomorrow if management have accepted 2 weeks extension.

- EMAAR should clarify the law to those tenants who will be faced with new landlords - we suggested that they contact the rent committee in the municipality on behalf of the tenants (since it would cost us 2000 dhs to file a claim) and then issue statement addressing the several scenarios possible - i.e. tenancy expires in one month, tenancy expires in 1year, landlord wants to rent what maximum increase can he impose, landlord wants to move in what increase can he impose etc.

They have responded that they will not state anything on behalf of the municipality as the law might change(!) our response was that they should at least clarify what the law is currently. They have agreed that they will contact the rent committee and circulate if they get a WRITTEN response from them - otherwise they will not state anything formally.

- EMAAR explained that by default our contracts will be renewed by another year - the law states that tenants must be given 12months notice if contract is not to be renewed hence we will get automatic renewal. They will not state this in writing since they don't have it in writing from rent committee. We have requested that they clarify on our behalf from rent committee. As we all know, the law in Dubai is sometime vague in places. It is obviously rather hard for EMAAR to claim tenants won't face huge cost increases or rapid eviction while on the other hand stating that they won't put to us in writing what they believe the law is. How can they be sure tenants will be protected from rapid eviction if they cannot actually confirm the law in writing?

We have pushed them to include a clause in the tenancy agreements which obliges the new landlords to renew tenancy for another year even if they believe that the law states that he has to anyway. They said they will discuss internally and let us know. From a logical standpoint, if they genuinely believe that the law does provide that the landlord renew tenancy for at least another year, then they should have no hesitation explicitly adding this to tenancy contracts for tenants prior to selling the properties, which would safeguard the tenants against a change in the law or some other interpretation of the law to what EMAAR claims to understand. This alone would greatly assist tenants, as well as ensuring that Dubai's vital steps to reduce inflation are kept on track, something that will not happen if the rent cap laws can be easily bypassed. Reducing inflation is critical - some surveys suggest the cost of living in Dubai is increasing by 28% per year, something that will destroy Dubai's competitive business position if tough measures are not taken and enforced. The future prosperity of Dubai should not be sacrificed for short term gain - it is vital that the economy is brought under control and that companies can make long term investments here knowing that the cost base is stable. At present, the biggest deterrent to companies is not just the high level of costs, but the lack of clarity in what costs might rise to this year or next.

- We have requested that they offer tenants who move (after 12months given the above) they offer further assistance e.g. waiving the estate agency commission - they agreed

- We have requested that they contact DIC re disconnection penalities which applies to TV/internet/phone. They have refused saying that this was not their concern
We strongly feel that they can come to some agreement with DIC re the above. If even 100 tenants move from one block to the next and need to reconnect with DIC surely there is a way to come to an agreement so tenants don't have to pay disconnection fees and then reconnection fees!! These are perhaps the least of the expenses but none the less important.

- We have discussed that they should offer those who buy either 20% discount or deduct their total paid rent. They have not agreed to any of these suggestions but will discuss.

In summary all we have received from them is the following:

- extension of deadline by 1 week with possibility of another week
- Contact Rent committee on our behalf and IF THEY RECEIVE ANYTHING IN WRITING they will forward to tenants
- Discuss with management any other concessions for Tenants who wont buy
- Discuss with management further reductions on price to those interest to buy - either 20% discount or deduction of rent
- To arrange another meeting next week to follow up
- To circulate any concessions etc to tenants once above meeting takes place

We understand that some tenants are obviously keen to get a running commentary of efforts, but given time and other constraints this is not necessarily possible. However we are doing our best to post information as and when we have it to keep fellow Greens tenants up to date. We hope that further meetings will take place and that we will get information back and some progress on the points raised above.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update.
Some comments:
1.) The wording of the Rent com. officers to any Landlord who wants the Tenant to vacate the Apartment (if the previous stay is 1 year or less "NO WAY THE LANDLORD WIN THE CASE) and (THE ALLOWED INCREASE IS 7% in case the previous year was not increased) regardless if the Land lord is new.
2.) TECOM WAS the provider for the TV/TELE in the Greens not DIC, the complete TECOM organization has moved to DU i.e. DU is the provider now, the cooperation between DU and Emaar is not as anyone would imagine and they will not agree on the request, you can all notice that DU has placed monster trucks with big masts around the Springs, Greens and Lakes area to provide mobile signal for the new network which means that Emaar did not provide them any location to put the antennas like they did for Etisalat i.e. no cooperation.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for your efforts, tonight I'll be sleeping with more comfort... even if things are not yet clear, never the less, you've done a great job... thanks again..

Anonymous said...

Whoever has put efforts in fighting our cause with the concerned a BIG THANK YOU, your efforts have been incredible, count one me if you need any more volunteer to run around....keep up your good work, you will be blessed...

Al Ghozlan 3 tenant

Anonymous said...

Thank You ,you have done a great Job.Keep up your good work.
Hope everything gets clear soon,for all of us who are worried for our family's future,especially for our kids.
Thanks again.

Gary said...

Get this week's Time Out - all rent laws explained and good news for us. The guy who wrote it is also one of us. Nice one Matt

Anonymous said...

Dear Gary,

Can we get the article on rent law on the blog - would really help ease people's concerns?

If you can help paste it here would be great or you can scan and send to homelesstenants@yahoo.com

Thanks for your help

Anonymous said...

Thank you big time for the great job... Am sure it wasn't easy at all sitting in a room with those greedy creatures... Good job...
Did you get any clue who would be the future buyers, will EMAAR out the properties on the open market for real or they're going to sell it to a real estate or an investment company, or worse, to a sister company of EMAAR, maybe HAMPTONS??

Anonymous said...

Its confirmed for the Lakes as well!!
Emaar offers purchase option to residents of The Lakes
Dubai, UAE, February 22, 2007: Emaar Properties is offering residents of The Lakes the option to purchase homes that are currently leased to them. Sales of the units in the master-planned residential project will be undertaken in phases, with the Zulal and Forat townhouses to be sold in the first phase.

Amlak Finance is providing easy home finances of up to 97 per cent of the project value to potential buyers. To assist tenants further with the purchase, Emaar is also offering 3 per cent discount on the total value apart from waiving the mortgage registration fee.

Mr Ahmad Al Matrooshi, Managing Director – UAE, Emaar Properties, said: “With the issuance of the Dubai Property Law, there is increasing preference for residents in Dubai to own homes than continue as tenants. This is reflected in the strong demand for residences in designated freehold areas. The Lakes is an established neighbourhood and we are offering homes for sale with the current tenants having the first opportunity to buy their homes.”

The sales process will be streamlined by Hamptons, which will arrange pre-approved mortgages from Amlak. Current tenants have been provided three weeks to decide on the purchase option. The townhouses that are not bought by existing tenants will go to the open market. Tenants can continue to stay in their homes as all existing lease agreements will be honoured until the renewal date. Renewals will be subject to the terms and conditions of the new owner but will be in line with the rental laws that are operational in Dubai.

To assist current tenants to make easy purchases, Amlak Finance offers them an alternative of paying only the profit on the principal amount for the next two years, in four convenient cheques. Installments on the principal amount will begin only after two years.

“This finance option will help tenants prepare themselves financially to make the purchase,” added Mr Al Matrooshi. “Tenants, however, are also free to choose home finance from any mortgage provider.”

There are 306 Zulal townhouses and 60 Forat townhouses, all located along picturesque lakes. They are situated near the other residential projects of Emaar including The Springs, The Meadows and Emirates Hills.

Emaar has informed all residents of the decision through a letter that also details the price and payment details of the apartments. Emaar will continue to manage The Lakes community and support the infrastructure maintenance as it does with its other residential projects together with the help of home owner committees.

Anonymous said...

Some comments regarding TECOM/DIC/du:

1. DIC Telecom was actually a division of TECOM - they are one and the same thing. The business has now been transferred to du.

2. du have made some welcome changes to policies, one of which is relocation charge. If one relocates to an area where du provides TV, Phone, Internet, the relocation charge is 100 AED flat. No disconnection or reconnection charge is applied.

 
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