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

By CNN Staff
February 12, 2014 -- Updated 0235 GMT (1035 HKT)
Completed in 2010 in Dubai, Burj Khalifa's architectural height is 2,717 feet (828 meters) and is occupied to a height of 1,918 feet (584.5 meters). A building's architectural height may include spires, but not antennas, flag poles or signage, according to the Council on Tall Buildings criteria. Completed in 2010 in Dubai, Burj Khalifa's architectural height is 2,717 feet (828 meters) and is occupied to a height of 1,918 feet (584.5 meters). A building's architectural height may include spires, but not antennas, flag poles or signage, according to the Council on Tall Buildings criteria.
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World's tallest buildings
World's tallest buildings
2. Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel, Saudi Arabia
3. Taipei 101, Taiwan
4. Shanghai World Financial Center, China
5. International Commerce Centre, Hong Kong
6. (tie) Petronas Towers 1 and 2, Malaysia
8. Zifeng Tower, China
9. Willis Tower, USA
10. KK100, China
11. Guangzhou International Finance Center, China
12. Trump International Hotel & Tower, USA
13. Jin Mao Tower, China
14. Princess Tower, United Arab Emirates
15. Al Hamra Tower, Kuwait
16. Two International Finance Centre, Hong Kong
17. 23 Marina, United Arab Emirates
18. CITIC Plaza, China
19. Shun Hing Square, China
20. Empire State Building, New York City
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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

(CNN) -- 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.

Building even taller than the Burj?
Photographer Daniel Cheong spent the past six months photographing the record-breaking skyline of Dubai, UAE, at just the right moments. Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building at 2,722 feet, is seen here from the 79th floor of the Index Tower. Photographer Daniel Cheong spent the past six months photographing the record-breaking skyline of Dubai, UAE, at just the right moments. Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building at 2,722 feet, is seen here from the 79th floor of the Index Tower.
Stunning photos of Dubai's skyline
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Stunning photos of Dubai\'s skyline Stunning photos of Dubai's skyline

"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.

The increasingly populous and built-up corridor connecting Abu Dhabi and Dubai has inspired many to refer to this core axis as "Abu Dubai," the unofficial capital of the entire Middle East. The increasingly populous and built-up corridor connecting Abu Dhabi and Dubai has inspired many to refer to this core axis as "Abu Dubai," the unofficial capital of the entire Middle East.
The wonders of Dubai
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The wonders of Dubai The wonders of Dubai

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.

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