The world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, has run into some financial troubles that may result in management shutting down air conditioning and elevator service to its 163 floors. A dispute over thousands of dollars in unpaid service fees threatens to leave residents stranded in a sweltering building after paying $55,000 in cash to live in the tower for the year.
The dispute involves a yearly $25,000 service fee on top of the premium residents are already paying to live in the Burj Khalifa. (That cost shouldn’t be too surprising when you consider that the building’s waste literally has to be loaded onto a truck and carried out of the city.) There are 900 luxury apartments in the building, and many tenants are already looking for new places to live. Residents and landlords who have paid their rent in full have complained to the media that the developer, Emaar Properties, is punishing loyal tenants for the outstanding bills of just a few property owners.
Apparently some of of the landlords who own apartments in the building have simply refused to pay the fees since 2012, resulting in their tenants being threatened with restricted electricity and locked-up common areas. It seems that targeting those individual residents hasn’t had the desired impact, so now Emaar is planning to make the entire building unlivable in a bid to force the delinquent owners to pay up.
The building has faced financial difficulties since it began construction in 2004; the project could only be completed when the Abu Dhabi royal family granted the project a $20 billion bailout. In 2012, two years after opening, 80% of the luxury apartments were occupied, but 20 floors worth of office spaces remained unoccupied.