Only One in Seven Estate Agents Know of Service Charges

Martin Croucher And ?aruna Urs
Filed on March 6, 2009

DUBAI - Only one in seven estate agents interviewed for a survey knew how much buyers would have to pay in maintenance fees for
their properties.

Researchers from PRD Nationwide posed as buyers to test whether agents knew the service charges in different areas they were selling.

“For the Palm, some of them told us that we wouldn’t have to pay anything,” said Simon Earl, research manager at the company.

He added that Palm Jumeirah had the highest levels of service charges for villas in Dubai at Dh4 per sq ft.

The highest service charges for apartments were found in Downtown Burj Dubai at Dh22.5 per sq ft and JBR at Dh21.75 per sq ft.

Residents of JBR have seen a 129 per cent increase from 2008’s rate of Dh9.5 per sq ft.

The report said that 31 per cent of developers do not include a sinking fund in their service charges.

Sinking funds are set aside each year to pay for long-term maintenance to the building and the report states that a lack of a fund ‘exposes owners to potential special levies in the future’.

“Properties that do not have a reserve fund are probably accumulating insufficient funds,” thereport said. “The future outlook for some buildings appears very bleak.

“The likelihood is that building charges are likely to increase substantially when the Strata Law takes effect.”

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