Abu Dhabi homeowners told to alter value of homes to Dh1 to avoid municipality fee

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Homeowners have been advised to falsify the value of their property on an official document to avoid being billed for Abu Dhabi’s new municipality fee, which should be charged only to tenants.

The extraordinary advice came from Abu Dhabi Distribution Company, the utilities provider that collects the fee on behalf of the municipality by adding it to tenants’ power and water bills.

The fee – 3 per cent of a property’s annual rent, payable monthly – has been beset by problems since its introduction in January.

All expatriate tenants are required to pay it. Only Emiratis and homeowners are exempt.

But the municipality’s Tawtheeq property registration system is apparently unable to distinguish between owners and tenants. It assumes that a property’s total value as recorded on a Tawtheeq certificate is the annual rent, and homeowners are therefore being wrongly billed.

The utilities company has now advised homeowners to change that figure to a nominal amount, such as Dh1, to avoid the fee.

Problems have also arisen because the charge was backdated to February last year, and many people have been billed a lump sum to cover 10 months of 2016. (Source credit – The National)


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