Residents complain old Dubai compound in the shadow of skyscrapers is being left to rot

Desert Springs Village, next to Tecom, is more than 40 years old and residents are unhappy with the build-up of sewage and rubbish that is making living in the once-beautiful compound a nightmare.

Desert Spring Village, where basic maintenance for health and safety is not properly addressed and a number of  houses have been abandoned. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
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DUBAI // Driving through Desert Springs Village, a person can only imagine the compound’s former glory.

Built in 1973, it was once a remote outpost on the edge of Dubai but now it is surrounded by Tecom’s skyscrapers.

Some residents said that their calls for a better sewage system and cleaner environment had gone unanswered by the management company, Homes 4 Life.

“There is overflowing sewage in my backyard, there are houses that have been vacated but still have furniture in them, collecting mice and dust, and there are piles of rubbish in the yards of the empty houses,” said Michael Bazergan, who had been living in the compound for more than 10 years.

“The place is unbelievably unkempt, so much so that we have tree branches blocking roads.”

Mr Bazergan said he was refusing to pay rent until the management company sorted out the sewage problem.

“This is my home and I have nowhere else to go. I am happy to pay the rent but my family and I do not deserve to live in filth and with this smell,” he said.

Fellow resident Ilze Els Mulder had been living in the compound for more than six years.

She agreed with Mr Bazergan and said that she kept renewing her contract because it “is one of the few places where it feels like home to every person who visits”.

“We pay the rent gladly but the owner refuses to take care of any maintenance of the villa, including major ones,” said Ms Els Mulder said.

“Since the new management company took over, many tenants vacated their premises and nobody inspected the state of the villas upon them leaving, which led to vacated villas standing with doors open.”

Ms Els Mulder said the area was a health, fire and safety risk.

“Rubbish from the villas gets collected by one person pushing a shopping trolley, which is completely impractical,” she said.

The management company, which took over in September, said that residents should take into consideration that the compound was more than 40 years old. “Any incidents, including sewage problems, that have occurred previous to our appointment is not under our scope of work,” said a Home 4 Life spokesman. “Having said that, we have already had two trips from wastewater removal companies.”

He said that the compound, which houses more than 70 units, was not connected to the main Dubai Municipality sewage line.

“We have had a few complaints of overflow, which we are trying to resolve, but it will take some time,” said the spokesman, who added that residents who failed to make rental payments would face legal action.

Because of continuing police cases against previous tenants who had abandoned or vacated housing units, the management company could not enter the premises until the cases were closed.

The spokesman said that rubbish was collected on an alternate day basis but some tenants refused to cooperate on keeping the premises clean.

“We have had witnesses tell us they’ve seen tenants throw rubbish and dead branches into the yards of vacated or abandoned units,” he said. “We have repeatedly urged them not to do so, and also urged them to cut down or trim overgrown branches and trees that spill onto the road.

“Our responsibilities are the common areas, which is stated in their contracts.”

The spokesman said the management’s goal was not to push out tenants and he urged them to cooperate with the management and abide by the guidelines.