Cleaners and workmen are to be charged a Dh20 (BD2) per day fee to access apartments and villas run by the Dubai developer Damac.
Security officers have begun stopping contractors at building entrances and asking for the cash.
Damac said the move is intended to “restrict any rogue service providers” and “improve safety”.
Residents said they had been told the fee was Dh20 per day or Dh5,000 (BD500) per year for a permit.
“This has more than doubled the cost of my gardener,” said Babikar Khateeb, 49, who lives in Damac Hills with his family.
“I pay them Dh3,000 a year to landscape my garden and having to suddenly pay this, without any prior consultation, is just crazy.”
Residents said they received an email from the management company informing them about the new charges.
It said the new fees were being introduced to ensure that only “service providers that are registered with authorities” were allowed to enter and operate within the properties.
Mr Khateeb said he had complained to the Damac customer care centre but was left with more questions than answers.
“I phoned them and they told me they were being inundated with calls from other homeowners and residents having the same issue,” he said.
“They told me they had no idea why the fees were being introduced.
“This was not part of the annual agreement for service fees and it seems especially unfair.”
Other residents of Damac Properties also spoke about the problems the new fees were creating.
“The maids can’t afford to pay these fees so the residents are the ones who have been hit with the extra charges,” said an American resident living in Damac Park Towers.
“It is absolutely absurd. It is already is extremely expensive to rent in Dubai.
“I have spoken to several neighbours who have all had their maids denied entrance into their properties and there has just been confusion so far.”
Niall McLoughlin, Damac’s senior vice president, said the new work permit would ensure that services were in line with government standards and regulations.
“The fee collected will be accounted for as income for the owners’ association of the property, in a bid to reduce service charges,” he said.
Damac Properties posted a drop of 94 per cent drop in profits for the first quarter of 2019.