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After six months of heated debate and angry protests, the lights are nearly out on one of Dubai's long in the tooth neighbourhoods - the 90-villa Emirates Oasis compound, located along Shaikh Zayed Road.
In February, Asteco Property Management, on behalf of developer Al Habtoor Group, sent eviction letters to residents, asking them to leave by next month to make way for a new development. The eviction date was then moved forward to August 17 as most residents have agreed to vacate their homes, according to Asteco.
The sudden eviction notice initially proved contentious as several residents had rental contracts running until next year and a few threatened legal action to enforce the mandatory 12-month notice required by law. However, the cost of a protracted legal battle convinced many tenants to simply cut their losses and move on.
The community is slated for demolition in February, although vacant homes are already being dismantled. When Property Weekly paid a visit last week, it was clear there was little left to fight for. A few signs of life were visible, though, with the occasional car parked in a driveway. Aside from this, the place has an eerie ghosttown feel.
Fences and fittings were scattered outside many of the villas, while discarded personal items such as shoes and toys were seen lying on the fioor of homes.
Some of the last remaining tenants have raised safety concerns over vacant villas being dismantled while there are still people living in the compound. They complained that pipes, nails, wires and other liazardous items were strewn about the compound, but Asteco said the demolition work is being conducted in line with municipality health and safety regulations.
"Due to requests from certain residents. numerous inspections by the authorities have been undertaken," said an Asteco spokesperson. "The form of the work and demolition has been validated and a formal demolition certificate has been granted."
Asteco maintains it has done its best to minimise any disturbance and has recompensed residents for moving costs and refunded the balance of rents paid, along with their security deposits.
According to the Asteco spokesperson, ''only one resident has yet to agree to a date to vacate their unit''.
Details of the new development planned for the Emirates Oasis site have not been released, but it is said to be a new luxury villa community. Asteco said an announcement is imminent.
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Source: Kirsty Savage, Special to Property Weekly