Damac to reconsider work permit fee structure, residents launch online petition

Damac to reconsider work permit fee structure, residents launch online petition

Dubai - So far, about 188 residents have signed the petition online.


Sandhya D'Mello

Published: Sun 4 Aug 2019, 6:27 PM

Last updated: Mon 5 Aug 2019, 12:34 AM

Dubai-based property developer, Damac has decided to reconsider the work permit fee structure which it had imposed on July 31 and will communicate the residents its final decision on August 8.
Many furious residents had taken to social media expressing their objection to impose Dh5,000 per year to hire external vendors for maintenance facilities. Niall McLoughlin, senior vice-president, marketing and corporate communications, said: "With respect to the work permit fees implemented in Damac/Loams managed property on July 31, 2019, we have listened to the concerns raised by residents and owners. After consulting with RERA and home owners, we have decided to reconsider the work permit fee structure, and a final decision will be communicated to all by August 8."
Launch of online petition
Damac residents in Dubai have launched an online petition to express their objection to the recent introduction of charges of Dh5,000 yearly or Dh20 daily, for third party contractors or cleaning companies.
So far, about 188 residents have signed the petition online.
The petition says, "We the resident and owners @ Damac Properties and developments, highly object and are not in favor of the recent introduction of charges in the region of Dh5000 yearly or Dh20 daily, which is used to generate income to potential lower service charges, to third party contractors or cleaning companies who in turn have to pass on this charge. These companies have serviced our needs and help us in our daily lives to increase happiness."
Dubai resident, Dipesh Makwana, said: "There is a lot of frustration within the community, and many are unhappy with the statements that have been made by  McLoughlin. While we as residents have the right to choose any cleaning company and maintenance company, we have now been informed of the new contractor fee charges."
Asked if Dh20 on daily basis hurts the residents' budgets, Makawana said: "On the face of it, Dh20 daily does not seem like a lot, but for small registered companies, who are fighting for business and providing a salary and work for people, this is affecting their bottom line, and quite rightly they are requesting that we the residents/owners pay this fee. All of this has been done without consulting the owners and residents."
Makawana added that the online petition is not to unite the resident and owners, as there is no official owners association and this is not to cause any trouble or offend, but to raise awareness on the discord felt in the community. It has been done without consultation of the people who are affected by the policy. 
Another Damac resident, Feras Yehia, explained that the petition proved to be a rapid and wide-ranging mechanism for tenants and owners in the affected communities to simply voice their discontent and objection towards a measure taken abruptly and without first consulting with (or seeking the approval of) all of the several owners' associations elected to safeguard the interests of investors and landlords in all of the concerned communities and buildings. Had the management responded to the many complaints and grievances raised over the last of few days, then the picture might have looked different today.
Due process before enacting such measures was not followed appropriately and/or fairly, according to Yehia. "Landlords and tenants woke up to the realisation that they now had to budget extra for services that already cost a lot of money and that they had already contracted suppliers on a long term basis based on agreed upon quotas and prices, all of which changed suddenly and abruptly because a third party decided to disrupt matters without notice."
Residents have started feeling the pinch immediately as many service providers simply imposed the additional charges on them. In some cases, service providers downright refused to provide their services within Damac communities. "Naturally, this disruption and disarray is giving way to more expensive service providers to step in and abuse the situation," said Yehia.
Mohamed Elghawaby, said: "When you move into Dubai and specifically to a community with a good name and reputation, you expect a certain level of quality. Home is where one gets back to relax, recharge and unwind before going back to work. The petition is a very positive step by a group of people affected with multiple rules passed by our management. Any service which has a fee, sudden increase or surcharge that was not foreseen will negatively affect all parties."
- sandhya@khaleejtimes.com

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