'We don't have money to burn,' say property owners at Ajman One towers

AJMAN // Owners of flats in the two Ajman One towers stricken by last month’s blaze have spoken of an financial ruin and an uncertain future. The fire on March 28 destroyed three flats in Tower Six owned by David Vincent, an Australian mechanical engineer who lost the source of income that paid for his […]

AJMAN // Owners of flats in the two Ajman One towers stricken by last month’s blaze have spoken of an financial ruin and an uncertain future.

The fire on March 28 destroyed three flats in Tower Six owned by David Vincent, an Australian mechanical engineer who lost the source of income that paid for his properties.

“We depend on tenants’ rent to pay the instalments monthly to the developer. This is my main income and, without it, how can I pay the instalments? I cannot,” the 61-year-old said.

In response to a statement from Ghaleb Jaber, the general manager of the developer and owner of Ajman One, who said he was cancelling old rent contracts to offer tenants new flats, Mr Vincent said: “He cannot cancel the contract, which is between us and tenants. It’s nothing to do with him. How can he cancel our contract and move tenants to one of his flats? Which law says he can do this?

“What annoys me is that we are owners and now we must go [to the developer] to ask what are they going to do. Are you going to repair the flats? And they say go away, go away.”

Rajat Suri, an 39-year-old Indian owner of six flats in Towers Six and Eight, echoed Mr Vincent when he said that the developer has no right to cancel his rent contracts with tenants.

“All buildings over here are freehold apartments and they sold them and they are not the owners of them. He can give new contracts for the apartments he has not sold but, for ours, who is he to cancel our contracts?

“At present, they [the developer] are not discussing with owners, they are discussing only with the tenants, who give them money. Owners only ask what shall I do? What is the solution? So owners are a headache for them.”

The businessman said that he has visited the developer’s office on two occasions and was given little information.

“I asked him what should I do and he told me: ‘Come after two weeks’,” said Mr Suri, who had bought the flats off-plan in 2007.

After the cancellation of contracts, owners were faced with also having to reimburse tenants who had paid rent ahead of time.

“Owners are suffering more than tenants, who have a solution. There is no solution for the owners,” Mr Vincent said.

Mr Suri, who has to pay tenants back about Dh500,000, said: “Some tenants paid me cash and cheques for a year or six months. Cheques are no problem to return them but for cash, I don’t have the money – these [flats] are my only income source.”

Both owners wanted to know if the insurance company would repair both the inside and outside of their flats and would pay them the rent of the period of the repairs.

“Every year, we pay a service charge, which is Dh5 per square feet, to the developer for security, cleaning, maintenance and building insurance, so we are party to the building insurance policy,” said Mr Vincent.

Both owners said they had not been told whether they are covered or not.

Mr Jaber said: “The insurance 100 per cent will repair everything. The apartments are fully insured and everything will be repaired.

“The construction company that built the towers will do full maintenance and it will take its money from us and then the insurance company will compensate us.

“And the owners who don’t have money to pay back to tenants, they can give them delayed cheques or meet me to help them.”

roueiti@thenational.ae

Source: uae news

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