(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Homeowners and residents of the Queue Point community in Liwan, Dubailand, have no access to their building parking spots and received a directive to refrain from using the facility due to safety apprehensions. This precautionary measure raised concerns, particularly in the context of past incidents faced by occupants in neighbouring buildings developed by the same company just a decade ago.
In those cases, problems arising in the parking areas escalated when a committee of government-appointed experts identified structural flaws necessitating immediate intervention.
This resulted in the displacement of approximately 350 homeowners. More than a year and a half after Khaleej Times initially reported the challenges faced by residents of Mazaya 3 and Mazaya 4 who were compelled to evacuate, the ground situation remains unchanged.
“Our once-thriving community resembles a ghost town,” said Mohammad Ayub, a Pakistani banker who bought a two-bedroom apartment in the building in October 2021.“We were compelled to vacate. I had no choice. Since then, we have been waiting for answers,” he said.
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As homeowners of the 14-story Mazaya 3 and 4 face an uncertain future, authorities have shifted their focus to three additional buildings in the community – Mazaya 27, 28, and 29, all of which are four stories tall.
Residents have confirmed that authorities have identified structural discrepancies in these buildings and have initiated measures to address the concerns. Scaffolding and pillars have been installed around the structures to provide additional support resulting in the closure of the parking lots in these buildings for safety reasons.
“I hope we don't meet the same fate as Mazaya 3 and 4 homeowners where issues began with parking area,” said an Indian expat residing in a two-bedroom apartment in Mazaya 28.“I bought the place for Dh1.2 million and am still paying the mortgage for it,” he rued. He is one of around 200 homeowners grappling with uncertainty.
An Arab expat living in a one-bedroom apartment in Mazaya 29 shared his frustration, stating that he was barred from using the parking facility in October 2022. "It's been over a year, and we still don't know what's happening. Meanwhile, the cracks and broken skirtings in our balconies and walls have worsened."
The closure of the area has forced residents to park in undesignated areas, leading to traffic violations and penalties.
Responding to residents' complaints, Kaizen Owner Association Management Services LLC which manages the properties, assigned a parking plot for each unit in a nearby building. However, not everyone could secure a spot, leaving those with two cars and designated slots in their buildings unsatisfied.
"Getting a vacant parking space here is like hitting a jackpot," said a resident. "If I am lucky to get it, I don't move my car. We stay home on weekends for the fear of losing our parking."
Another resident said, "I spend more time looking for parking than my actual commute from my office in Dubai Media City."
A woman who fractured her leg in an accident said she had to hobble to the car park, which is a fair distance away from her place.
Compounding the issues, Kaizen has increased maintenance fees, now reaching approximately Dh20,000 annually for a two-bedroom apartment. Residents contend that with minimal maintenance and poorly-maintained lobbies, the fee is unjustified. "The maintenance fee covers parking as well, which doesn't exist, so it is not justified," argued another resident.
Khaleej Times visited the location last week and noticed worrying conditions in the community, with scaffolding supporting structures, tiles removed for sample collection and open pits, posing risks for small children and elderly residents.
Kaizen Owner Association Management Services LLC said they "deeply regret any inconvenience experience by residents due to these circumstances."
Expressing "gratitude to Khaleej Times for "raising awareness on the matters," it stated that they are managing the properties in accordance with Dubai's Property Ownership Law 6 of 2019 and acting diligently from their position as a licensed Owners Association Management Services Company.
"Our responsibilities include collecting service charges, maintaining common areas, and upholding regulations," it said in an email statement to Khaleej Times.
"Currently, the three buildings (Mazaya 27, 28 and 29) maintain an average occupancy rate of 94%. All essential services and maintenance activities, payment of utilities are being diligently carried out. To ensure that all requisites are met and that the regular operations of the building are sustained, it is imperative that we continue to collect service charges from property owners," the statement added.
Kaizen emphasised that measures executed by a contractor, such as balcony support installation and temporary parking space closure, are crucial safety precautions designed to mitigate potential risks. They have been informed about the ongoing process of obtaining approvals from stakeholders for the required method statement in the rectification process.
Kaizen said that following the anticipated approval of the method statement expected in December, the relevant contractor can proceed with the necessary rectification work. Kaizen also stated that they would communicate details about the rectification schedule to all stakeholders in the affected communities as soon as that information was received.
Regarding open tiles in the corridors, Kaizen said they function as coring locations used during testing by the contractor. "Although the contractor closed the cored area, the tile replacement is pending," it said.
Residents said their property value has plummeted due to these issues.
Though not as dire as the situation in Mazaya 3 and 4, there is an underlying fear of eviction.
Pakistani insurance and risk consultant Haris Islam, forced to evacuate from his 2-bedroom apartment in Mazaya 3 purchased in 2015 for over Dh1.1 million, is now renting a place. "I'm paying a mortgage of Dh5,800; the average rent is Dh6,000."
The sale of apartments, issuance of new lease agreements, and registration of tenancy contracts (Ejari) have remained suspended in Mazaya 3 and 4 for over a year.
Kaizen Owner Association Management LLC previously stated involving government authorities after Mazaya 3-4 residents complained about eroded floors, water leakage, and cracks. In response, a committee was formed in November 2021 by the Dubai Land Department (DLD) and developer Al Mazaya Real Estate to assess the buildings, identify damage causes, and propose solutions.
The committee submitted its report on March 31, 2022, revealing several defects in the 14-storey buildings, ranging from severe corrosion to concrete breakdown. Non-destructive tests confirmed corrosion in the slab reinforcement due to a "high concentration of chlorides, multiple times more than the limit" in concrete slabs. Fearing risks for its occupants, evacuation orders were issued.
What the law says?
The jointly owned property law in Dubai, under Article (40) of Law No. (6) of 2019, outlines key provisions for property owners, developers, and property management companies.
According to the law:
Developers are obligated to rectify structural defects within the property for a duration of 10 years from the project's completion certificate.
The responsibility extends to repairing or replacing defective fixtures in the property, covering a one-year period from the date of unit handover to the own.
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