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Lack of communication from developers coupled with trying time for sector leave investors fuming

Investors in the UAE’s real estate are a frustrated lot, but not just because the sector is in the throes of the worst-ever slowdown it has witnessed. That’s a known fact, and most investors have reconciled to it.

However, what is not known and, therefore, much more frustrating, is the status of the projects in which they have invested their hard-fought cash.

Many developers in the country have apparently chosen to not communicate with their clients about when the stalled projects are going to take off and when will they be delivered, if at all.

Property blogs and social media sites are full of frustrated investors venting their ire.

A good proportion of such investors do not reside in the country and, therefore, have to depend on communication from the developer and their websites to figure out the status of their investments.

With the websites of most developers updated on a regular basis, and not communication forthcoming from them, such investors are resorting to blogs such as www.skyscrapercity.com http://www.skyscrapercity.com to voice their anger.

“…was told last week, in an e-mail from [the developer], that handover is now March 2011. So, that will be over 4 years since I chose to invest in [the project]. I’m sure it will happen eventually but this constant re-scheduling of end dates is very frustrating,” a user who went with the skyscrapercity.com http://skyscrapercity.com ID of tonydubai wrote on July 24.

At least tonydubai seemed to have received some kind of communication from the developer. Some of the others have not been so lucky. “I invested in a project in 2007, which was supposed to be delivered in 2009,” a senior media executive told Emirates 24|7.

“Not only has the project not even taken off the ground, [the developer] has not communicated with me at all, in spite of the fact that I kept paying my instalments until end-2008,” he said.

“They refuse to entertain my emailed queries or on the phone, and despite having numerous face-to-face meetings with the company’s junior staff, I have no idea if the project will ever see the light of the day,” he shrugged.

He isn’t alone. Some investors claim that their developers are short-changing them by saddling them with a much smaller properties compared with what they originally paid for.

Some other are upset about the miscommunication and false assurances meted out to them during the sales process.

This is what user pki had to say on May 11: “I am an investor in [project] and interested in any routes to get my investment back. It is not an option to switch to another development as I need the money (or as much of it as I can get back) to pay my mortgage on my home and not upset my bank.

“Does anyone know of anyway to get the investment back?

“They forced me to sign my contract by threatening to keep my deposit (under UK law this is duress so I would be entitled to cancel and get my money back – but if course UAE law does not favour us).

“They provided me with a letter and constant assurances that they could facilitate a 70% mortgage. Of course when I mentioned this to them and sent in the proof – they ‘lost’ it. And my fault, I did not take a copy (was too stressed to think straight).

“Also the development was meant to be ready in Jan 2010, but the enabling work has only been finished now (though they told me it was complete in Jan 2009 (LIES!))

“Any advice, recommendations etc would be appreciated!”

This is certainly not good for the image of the country or its position as a preferred global investment destination.