Homefront: 'My newly purchased apartment is full of flaws. How do I resolve this?'

The two-year-old home in Dubai has a number of faults including major leaks

Dubai skyline seen from Deyaar properties on Business Bay.
(Photo: Reem Mohammed/The National)


I have an issue with an apartment I bought in Jumeirah Village Circle. It is two years old and was owned by someone before me. I decided to renovate the property to update it a little. When my contractor started work, he found a number of issues: my kitchen is not waterproof so it leaked into the neighbour's property below us; the master water valve is damaged and water from the building's water room started leaking into my home. 
The common areas have leakage problems as well. The AC is always on 31 degrees Celsius and there is a gap in the ceiling in the corridor outside my apartment left by maintenance so all the pipes are showing. 
Who should I contact to resolve all of this? The maintenance team in my building doesn't seem to care but I pay my service charges for the common areas.
EC, Dubai

There are two issues to tackle here, firstly, your own apartment. For issues with poor workmanship and general build quality, direct your attention to the developer to highlight the faults you have uncovered during improvements/upgrades. The developer issues a 10-year guarantee of the building structure against any defects from the date of handover and one year's warranty towards the MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing).

Given you have bought a two-year-old unit, the MEP one-year guarantee is now not applicable but the structural guarantee is.

With reference to the common parts, I refer you to Law 27 of 2007 which is more commonly known as the Jointly Owned Property law. This law laid the foundation for a regulated and transparent implementation concerning the management of strata developments and ownership of units in Dubai.

This law has been recently amended by Law 6 of 2019. According to this latest law, the Dubai Land Department is responsible for preparing a register for jointly owned property. In this register, there is information on the land owned by the developers and the real estate units meant for independent ownership.

The register will also feature names of owners, members of the committee of owners and building management and it will outline maintenance procedures within common areas. In addition, the register will include details of the share of maintenance costs that each owner should pay, the facility management company responsible for common areas and amenities of the joint property, in accordance with this law, and information about the developers and operators of the project.

The Real Estate Regulatory Agency is responsible for regulating and inspecting the management and maintenance of common areas of jointly owned real estate property. The facility management firm should submit reports every six months to Rera on the management of jointly owned property and common areas. The authority can at any time request information on the revenue and expenses related to the service charges.

As you can see, your first port of call is to the developer regarding your actual apartment and what can be done to improve the building works going forward. Secondly, you must contact the Rera to understand what can be done with regards to the new Law 6 of 2019 with reference to the building maintenance and service charges for the common areas.

Mario Volpi is the sales and leasing manager at Engel & Volkers. He has worked in the property sector for 35 years in London and Dubai

The opinions expressed do not constitute legal advice and are provided for information only. Please send any questions to mario.volpi@engelvoelkers.com


Where Dubai rents have risen and fallen, Q3 2019