The Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT) have revealed that service fees for real estate units’ owners and investors in development projects were reduced by 6% during 2022. The reduction in service charges led to property owners and investors saving over AED37.2 million in 2022.

DMT also announced that 319 of the total development project service and maintenance charges have been approved in 2022, and the total sum of these service charge budgets are approved as of December 31, 2022, amounting to AED722.6 million.

Dr. Adeeb Al Afifi, Executive Director of the Real Estate Sector at DMT, said: “The reduction in service fees for real estate units’ owners and investors in development projects will work towards enhancing the attractiveness of real estate investment in the emirate. It will also help owners manage their real estate in a more effective and efficient manner, while lowering their operating costs and increasing the returns on their investments, as well as reducing the cost of owning a home in Abu Dhabi, keeping costs at competitive levels locally and regionally.

“The procedure is part of the DMT’s efforts aiming at further improving the standards of living for citizens and residents in Abu Dhabi by reinforcing sustainability and welfare levels in the residential and housing units”.

DMT introduced a comprehensive mechanism to monitor and regulate residential units' service charges in 2020. The regulation supports the sustainable growth of the real estate market and protects both owners and developers by establishing a clear framework on how these charges will be priced. The service fees were reduced in 2020 by 18.1%, and by 8.3% in 2021, with the value of the reduction exceeding AED200 million.

Service fees are used to cover the expenses of common areas to preserve the quality, cleanliness and security of the real estate units and the long-term value of the assets. No unit owner may relinquish their share in the common areas to avoid payment of their share of the service fee, nor may the owner be charged for the management, operation, maintenance, and repair of the common areas until they have been approved by the Department of Municipalities and Transport.