Avoid any major hiccups by ensuring your home is well maintained, from investing in an AMC (an annual maintenance contract) to embracing going green
We’re all used to being responsible and paying for utilities, rent or mortgage, insurance and living expenses, but what about the general maintenance, repairs and replacement costs that come with living in an apartment or villa in Dubai? How do you know what things need to be done, what you are responsible for, how regularly, as well as how much you should pay and who to call to get the job done? We get the lowdown from those in the know…
What should be included in rental contracts regarding your home maintenance?
Richard Waind, Director of Brokerage, Betterhomes explains: “Responsibility for maintenance should be included in the contract and should be as specific as possible. If there is a maintenance dispute that cannot be resolved between the landlord and the tenant, the tenant may open a case at the Rental Dispute Settlement Centre DLD (fees/costs apply)”.
What home maintenance services should be considered?
Mohamed Ayed, managing director at Fixperts details: “A house that is maintained rigorously by a professional company generally attracts more value than other properties. Tasks, such as routine servicing of HVAC units, electrical and plumbing components of the house and regular touch-up painting to avoid a major paint overhaul will maintain a feel-good home.”
Raashi Pachisia, director of marketing at HomeGenie says: “There are three types of home maintenance services: preventative services that ensure there aren’t any unplanned breakdowns; reactive to ensure that if there is a breakdown, then the issue is fixed i.e. water leakage; and routine maintenance, which includes cleaning services, like general cleaning and water tank cleaning. It is important to have all these in place to keep your home in order.”
How do I choose a maintenance company?
Raashi: “Due to the extreme weather in the Middle East, homes require regular professional maintenance. Simultaneously, the maintenance industry suffers from a highly transient population. Therefore, here are a few things to consider when choosing a company:
• Ensure that the company has a trade license and relevant services listed
• Ensure staff has a valid residency visa, under the company sponsorship
• Ensure the company has the correct insurances, including a third party liability insurance, in place to cover any accident or eventuality
• Do a quick reference check on the company to ensure that they have been in business for a while, and are not a “man and a van”
• A good quality website and an active social media page is also a good indication of the company’s credibility in the market
• Don’t get lured by advertised attractive starting prices – they are often misleading, while recommendations on social media could be clever marketing.”
Mohamed adds: “There is no standard pricing. However, the rates for each company are based on the skillset of its staff and the ability of the in-demand company to be able to give a reasonable response time. The more experienced and skilled the staff, the more they are paid; and the easier it is for them to diagnose and resolve the issue swiftly and without any inconvenience. This allows you to avoid inaccurate charges you will have to bear if you consider a company with lower rates for annual maintenance – paying a little more for quality means greater savings in the long run.
“Always ask about the skillset of in-house staff – no company can be an expert in all services so subcontracting is common. History and references are a plus point – ask if the company has worked on properties in the same community as yours.”
Is it worth investing in an annual maintenance contract (AMC)?
Mohamed: “An AMC is becoming accepted as a norm in Dubai. People are more aware of the advantages of having a professional service provider always available when needed, particularly with A/C and leakage issues common to this part of the world. Routine maintenance and a reliable response time for call-outs are being considered a real value, as people cannot wait extended amounts of time without a cool home.
“As the Dubai real estate market is moving more towards the tenants’ favour, the only way to acquire higher rents in a community of 1,000 similar villas is to have a well maintained home, with a history and job record of a professional company, along with providing a maintenance contract with the tenancy.
Raashi: “Signing an AMS does have some benefits. However, it is well recognised that AMCs increasingly fail to deliver, based on the following reasons:
• Potential drop in eagerness to serve and service levels, as soon as the customer is tied in
• Reduced flexibility for customers to get alternative estimates, due to AMC contract terms
• Sometimes more expensive than paying per service, as prices charged are generally higher for parts and labour
• Unused AMC spend during years in which there isn’t any major maintenance required.”
Install solar power
Dubai has set an ambitious goal to increase solar capacity to 7% by 2020. If you want to do your part to get us all to this sunny standard, check out Shams Dubai (dewa.gov.ae), DEWA’s first smart initiative for connecting solar energy to buildings, which offers guidelines for installing solar panels at your home.
The electricity generated is for your own use and any excess is fed back into the grid, for which you can be credited for on any future energy bills. You can estimate your potential electricity production and savings on electricity bills that can be achieved, using Shams Dubai Calculator.
Add recycling options
If you haven’t had a recycling bin installed in your community just yet, expect one soon: Dubai municipality intends to add about ten neighbourhoods to its list per year.