Rent at the 163-storey Burj Khalifa doesn't come cheap. While a one-bedroom "only" costs $US55,000 a year (according to CNN), it's the $US25,000 service fee that really gets you. Now, a fight over these fees may force tenants to make the climb home on foot.
According to The National UAE, the owner of the building -- the property giant Emaar -- warned tenants that it will be forced to cut electricity to the lifts and air-conditioning, as well as restrict access to amenities, over thousands of dollars of unpaid bills. The cut-off was due to happen on Sunday, but Emaar gave tenants a "reprieve" so that they could access their homes -- though amenities like communal areas were cut off. "We view it as a small win for tenants that we can use the elevators but it's best to move soon," one renter told the paper. Indeed.
What's unclear is whether it's the tenants -- or their landlords, who act as a go-between for the developer and individual renters -- who aren't paying up. In some cases, it seems that nonpayment is a tactic that landlords use to needle developers, whom landlords see as overcharging for service fees.
Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images.
As The National points out, some developers in Dubai force payment using a tactic called "name and shame," where they plaster non-paying tenants names' across billboards at the entrances of developments. That might not work at the Burj, since the tenants themselves aren't the ones missing payments, but rather the landlords they rent from. Emaar, it seems, might need to look for a new way to shame.
Image by Isabell Schulz/CC.
Either way, this is big trouble for the renters. Imagine, after paying tens of thousands of dollars in cash for a place to sleep inside the tallest, most luxe building on Earth, being forced to walk up the stairs. And that's not to mention the air conditioning issue; the Burj's windows don't open, and the intense gulf sun could turn the building into what basically amounts to a pressure cooker.
In conclusion, be thankful for your crappy operable windows. And the fact that your walk-up is only four stories, not 163. [The National]
Lead image: AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili.