Owners associations and property management

Owners associations and property managementImage Credit: Supplied

The Jointly Owned Property (JOP) Law, with its beginnings in Australia in 1961, has been adopted in various countries around the world including Dubai, which implemented its own version in April 2007 under Law Number 27. As per Dubai Strata Law, the owners association is a not-for-profit entity that has a governing body or a board headed by a chairman. The board is elected by the property owners at an annual general meeting, and the board appoints a chairman and delegates powers and functions to him. The primary responsibilities of an OA include the management, monitoring and maintenance of joint areas in multi-owned properties.

Dubai has over 385 registered interim owners associations, and many of them have made great progress in reducing costs such as renegotiating various contracts with suppliers and going for energy-saving alternatives as well as in the maintenance of common areas such as playgrounds, gyms, swimming pools, etc.

While OAs do contribute to ameliorate the overall condition and cost management of a property, they also have to deal with several challenges. The first challenge is to be able to balance the diverse interests in a multinational environment such as Dubai. The collection of service charge payments can be another daunting task. As OAs are yet to be granted legal status by RERA, most of them find it difficult to initiate legal actions against defaulters. It is only recently that Emirates NBD became the first bank in the UAE to offer escrow account services to these associations. They may also have to deal with several arm-twisting gimmicks of developers who insist on choosing service providers.

In order to circumvent these challenges, lots of OAs have started employing the services of owner association management companies. Some of the primary duties of owners association management companies are tender issuance for various maintenance projects in the building, issuance of service fee invoices and collection of payments on behalf of the OA, management of communications, inputs and complaints, liaising with RERA and local authorities as well as handling legal matters on behalf of the owners association.

Handy Hints:

• There are over 385 OAs in Dubai that are handling multi-owned properties

• The different owners associations are yet to be granted legal status by RERA

• There are many owners association management firms handling OA affairs

Source: Dipshikha Mitra, Special to Properties

The writer is a freelancer

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