The World's Tallest Building May Soon be Without Elevators or A/C

By Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan on at

Rent at the 163-storey Burj Khalifa doesn't come cheap. While a one-bedroom "only" costs £33,000 a year, it's the £15,000 service fee that really gets you. Now, a fight over these fees may force tenants to make the climb home on foot.

According to The National UAE, the owner of the Khalifa Tower, property giant Emaar, warned tenants that it will be forced to cut electricity to the elevators and air-conditioning, as well as restrict access to amenities, due to thousands of pounds worth of unpaid bills. The cut-off was due to happen on Sunday, but Emaar gave tenants a "reprieve" so that they could access their homes—though amenities like communal areas were cut off. "We view it as a small win for tenants that we can use the elevators but it's best to move soon," one renter told the paper. Indeed.

What's unclear is whether it's the tenants—or their landlords, who act as a go-between for the developer and individual renters—who aren't paying up. In some cases, it seems that non-payment is a tactic that landlords use to needle developers, whom landlords see as overcharging for service fees.

The World's Tallest Building May Soon Be Without Elevators or A/C

Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images.

As The National points out, some developers in Dubai force payment using a tactic called "name and shame," where they plaster non-paying tenants names' across billboards at the entrances of developments. That might not work at the Burj, since the tenants themselves aren't the ones missing payments, but rather the landlords from whom they rent. Emaar, it seems, might need to look for a new way to shame.

The World's Tallest Building May Soon Be Without Elevators or A/C

Image by Isabell Schulz/CC.

Either way, this is big trouble for the tenants. Imagine, after paying tens of thousands of pounds for a place to sleep inside the tallest, most luxurious building on Earth, being forced to walk up the stairs. And that's not to mention the air conditioning issue; the Burj's windows don't open, so the intense gulf sun could effectively turn the building into a pressure cooker. [The National]

Lead image: AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili.