No elevators in Burj Khalifa? Residents face threats over fees dispute

Story highlights

  • Emaar Properties, which runs Dubai's Burj Khalifa, threatens to suspend services
  • It says some residents of the world's tallest building failed to pay service charges
  • A one-bed apartment in the 160-story tower is for rent at $55,000 per year

What is it like to live in the tallest building in the world?

Well, if the elevators stop, not that great.

Unplugged air conditioning and out-of-service elevators became a real threat for residents of the 160-story Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai over the weekend.

Emaar Properties, the Dubai developer that runs the tower, warned residents it would shut down building services during a dispute over unpaid fees.

"A circular has been issued to remind and urge residents to pay the service charges to ensure the seamless management of the common areas and other community amenities," Emaar's spokesperson told CNN.

"It was sent after repeated reminders to pay the pending service charges and following multiple attempts to get the attention of the defaulting home-owners," the spokesperson said.

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Emaar says some of the residents have failed to pay their fees since 2012 -- and the developer followed through with its pledge restricting some services in the building on Sunday.

Local newspaper The National reported that the developer has disabled residents' access to communal areas.

In the letter, Emaar cautioned residents that the access cards of those who fail to pay will be disabled and entry to the garage, gym, pool, and tennis courts would be denied.

"Home-owners who have paid service charges will continue to enjoy seamless access to all common area amenities," Emaar said.

Service charges are a contentious issue in Dubai with many tenants caught in the middle of disputes between their landlords, who often view the fees as too high, and the developers who run the buildings.

The Real Estate Regulatory Agency in Dubai has been trying to enforce tougher regulations that would require developers and landlords to disclose service charges payments before renting their property out.

There are 900 luxurious apartments spread across floors 12 to 108 in the Burj Khalifa skyscraper.

While Emaar did not disclose the cost of rent in the tower, real estate agents offer one bedroom apartments in the building for around $55,000 per year -- paid in full, in advance.

The service charges, which are at the center of the dispute, add another $25,000 to the annual bill.