Minister Dr Abdullah Al Nuaimi responds to a question at the FNC on Wednesday.
Abu Dhabi - The housing programme also includes housing maintenance and purchases, as well as additional housing and expansion projects.
Members of the Federal National Council (FNC) on Wednesday called for tougher penalties against Sheikh Zayed Housing Programme (SZHP) contractors who do not adhere to the conditions agreed upon with house owners.
During a discussion, Dr Abdullah Al Nuaimi, Minister of Infrastructure Development and chairman of the SZHP, highlighted the procedures used to resolve disputes in the event of a breach of housing contracts.
Salem Al Shehhi, FNC member from Ras Al Khaimah, demanded that the ministry resolves the housing issues for Emiratis, if it involves contractors who are not committing to the SZHP, which allocates loans and lands to Emirati families.
The housing programme also includes housing maintenance and purchases, as well as additional housing and expansion projects.
Al Shehhi stressed that Emiratis, who are granted homes from the programme, are in fact having their contracts breached, particularly when it comes to adhering to the completion date.
He highlighted that contractors have various reasons for delaying the construction, in which homeowners file a complaint, or take legal action, which at the end causes a loss of time and money for homeowners who are "suffering."
"We have heard from many homeowners about problems with contractors," he said, adding that the housing programme must thus have tougher penalties and control over disputes.
"Emirati families are suffering and losing because of this. Families are wondering where is the role of programme and the ministry in such situations, especially when these families have no authorities or control."
Al Shehhi thus noted that the construction projects must have regular and thorough follow-ups by authorities, particularly when it comes to the cases of passing the date of completion while the construction is on-going.
"Tougher rules must be put in place, especially since awaiting homeowners are not only losing their money, but also their precious time and effort, and turning to legal help due to the delay of completion."
However, Dr Al Naimi, said that although such cases do take place between homeowners and contractors, it is nevertheless "something that we have become used to in this field."
"It is not unusual to have disputes between the two parties, however, the real issue here is that the programme cannot resolve disputes."
However, Dr Al Nuaimi noted that the programme could become involved in exceptional disputes or cases, and for which a written report will be provided for the cases that go against the programme's agenda, which often take place during the execution of the project.
On the other hand, he said that over the past four years, reports revealed that only one dispute could not be interfered by the programme, "Because interfering would violate the original contract or agreement."
Dr Al Nuaimi did, however, take the proposals set by the FNC members and said the programme will thus act as the homeowner's representative.
"The programme will be the landlord's representative, without having the homeowner interference."
"If we can manage to provide help to solve disputes, the numbers of cases will decrease, and burden will be taken off Emirati homeowners."