Dubai renter unsure whether to write cheque to agency or landlord
I recently came across a property advertised online at a very good price. When I checked with the agent, I discovered it was posted by their Rera-registered agency, who also happened to manage the property on the landlord’s behalf. The agency showed me an Ejari document between the landlord and the agency and said they have authorisation to receive payment on the landlord’s behalf, although the agreement will be between me (the tenant) and the landlord. I feel this does not add up. When I searched online I discovered Law “No 2 of 2003” which says (and please correct me if I am wrong) rental cheques should always be in the landlord’s name. If a property management company demands a cheque, it may face up to a Dh500,000 fine and jail. The agency is putting pressure on me to give in, saying other prospective tenants are seeing the apartment. What should I do in this case? SR, Dubai
From the information you have given me, it would appear that the agency has entered a rental agreement with the landlord, hence the Ejari between them. Now the agency is looking to sub-lease the apartment. Subleasing is not illegal as long as the landlord is aware and has agreed to it. You must see evidence of his approval by way of a written affirmation. If you do not get this confirmation, I recommend that you do not proceed with this rental as it would then seem like a scam to me. If, however, you see written proof that the landlord knows the agency is subleasing and he is OK that the rental cheque be paid to the agency, then it is fine to go ahead. However, if the property is only managed by the agency then the rental cheques should still be payable to the landlord. You should check the following to ensure you have taken all the necessary steps for your due diligence:
• Check the property management agreement between the landlord and the agency
• Check the trade licence of the real estate company. This should state that they are licensed to do property management
• Check the agent’s approved activities according to its license with Dubai’s Department of Economic Department
• Check the registration number and the brokers’ licence at Rera
• All the above information can be found on the Dubai Land Department’s website: www.dubailand.gov.ae
• Get the rent contract registered on Ejari
I am considering renting a brand-new apartment, however the landlord is saying he does not yet have the title deed. He did provide me with a document, but it is a two-year-old pre-registration document. I have asked the agent and landlord to provide something more substantial. I’ve got the landlord’s ID copies but I don’t know if the document I have already is sufficient to confirm that he is the legal owner of the apartment. I have been told that the title deed will take a month or so to come through, and am uncomfortable about signing a contract based on what he has provided me with so far. What are the normal documents required for renting a new property that has only just been handed over? And what should I be asking them to show me? KP, Dubai
In my opinion, proceeding with this apartment will cause you issues for the following reason. The Oqood (pre-title registration) in its present form is not sufficient to get the Ejari. If the landlord doesn’t have the title deed as yet, ask if he has the affection plan. He can get this from the Land Department. The affection plan will have the plot number on it and it is this that is needed for the Ejari.
Under normal circumstances, the documents required to complete the Ejari registration are the tenant’s passport copy with visa page and Emirates ID, original tenancy agreement, landlord’s passport copy, title deed or affection plan. The cost is Dh215, including the typing.
A new regulation was announced last October stating that no Dewa connection could be made without first registering the Ejari. So it is vitally important that the landlord gives you all the necessary documents now to complete the Ejari, otherwise you will not be able to connect the Dewa in the property. If the landlord or the agent insist that it will still take time to produce the title deed (ie one month), I suggest you look for another suitable property.
Mario Volpi is the chief sales officer for Kensington Exclusive Properties and has worked in the property industry for the past 32 years in London and Dubai. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and they do not reflect in any way those of the institutions to which he is affiliated. It does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only. Please send any questions to email@example.com.
Follow The National’s Business section on Twitter