Residents in JLT tower block left sweating as air conditioning switched off in row over fees

Tenants have gone months without AC as management company at 46-storey building in Dubai says service charges remain unpaid

Some residents have gone months without AC at Preatoni Tower in JLT. Pawan Singh / The National
Some residents have gone months without AC at Preatoni Tower in JLT. Pawan Singh / The National

Residents of a high-rise in Dubai are feeling the heat after the air conditioning in their homes was turned off due to a row over unpaid management fees.

Tenants and owners at Preatoni Tower in JLT said they have gone months without air conditioning.

Some have bought portable AC units and fans, but have complained to management as summer approaches. The building management said tenants would not receive cooling services until service fees were paid by unit owners.

Alex Nikolenko, a landlord, said he was up to date with his service charges – but that the whole block has to suffer due to those who haven't paid.

It’s a shame because it’s a good building and everything else is perfect but we need AC, especially in the hot summer months

Amabel Joy Marasigan

“Considering that we are approaching the summer months and the temperature already hitting 35-40 degrees outside, it’s not a matter of money anymore, it’s a matter of health and safety," said the 36-year-old Russian, a technical manager.

“The bigger picture here is that if the building will stay without the AC, the tenants will be within their rights to stop their lease contracts and will leave the building.

“This will create a chain reaction, as owners will have no income to pay for the service charges. In the current economic situation, it will basically kill the building and all investments made by the apartment owners.”

One tenant said she was contemplating leaving due to the dispute.

“I am going to have consider moving if this continues. It’s just ridiculous,” said Amabel Joy Marasigan, 36, who said her AC was cut off in October, a month after she moved into the property and has not been turned on again since.

“We were told by building management it was going to be fixed soon, but we are still without it.

Preatoni Tower resident Yin Moe Aye has had to use a portable AC device in her apartment since March. Courtesy: Yin Moe Aye
Preatoni Tower resident Yin Moe Aye has had to use a portable AC device in her apartment since March. Courtesy: Yin Moe Aye

“All of my neighbours that I have spoken to are also without AC.”

She said many of the residents at the 46-storey building, which was previously known as Dubai Star, have been given portable AC units or fans by their landlords until the situation is resolved.

“I am just going to have to see how bad the temperatures get, but it is going to be really difficult to stay there throughout the summer,” said Ms Marasigan, who works in digital marketing.

“It’s a shame because it’s a good building and everything else is perfect, but we need AC – especially in the hot summer months.”

Another resident said her AC had been cut off two weeks after moving in at the beginning of March.

“I was told it would be back on by the end of April, but there’s still no sign of it,” said beauty therapist Yin Moe Aye, 45, from Myanmar.

Hotel accountant Naing Oo said his AC was turned off in the middle of February and he has been using a fan to keep the temperature down since then.

“Everyone in the building is facing the same issue,” said the 37-year-old from Myanmar.

“There are a lot of problems and the residents are the ones being punished.”

A spokesman for the building’s owners' association management company, Stratum, said it had been very clear the issue was in the hands of the owners and they had been told they needed to pay their outstanding bills.

He added the AC would not be turned on again until those bills were settled.

“If you are not paying your bill you will not get a service,” the spokesman said.

Building developer Preatoni Real Estate also had its AC disconnected by cooling services provider Empower, as it is located in the same building, said Preatoni relationship manager Nazli Saidi.

“We have addressed the local authorities, urging them to help in resolving the issue which is causing us, as a developer and tenant of the building, as well as all the unit owners, great damages,” she said.

“We have been requested by the local authorities to have minimum involvement in the matter, since as per law 6/2019, Rera [Real Estate Regulatory Agency] and the OA [owners association] handle the management of the buildings without direct involvement of the developer.”

The National has also contacted Empower for a statement.

Updated: May 9, 2021 03:04 PM


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