Dubai tenant must compromise to reconnect air conditioning that has been switched off for non-payment

I rent an apartment through an estate agent. My air-conditioning bills come in by email through him. He receives them, forwards them to me and I pay them directly to the provider. A few weeks ago I received an letter under the door that my air conditioning has been disabled because of non-payment. I was shocked. I called the provider and they said I had never paid the bill for October, but I never received the bill for that month. I called my contact from the agency and he claims that he never received it. He said he wasn’t going to pay for the reconnection fee. I don’t want to pay for it either, since I never received any bill or a reminder. I don’t know what to do now. I can’t stay during the summer in an apartment without AC and the bills are under the name of the landlord. My contract expires at the end of the month. I didn’t cancel the contract two months ago because I was happy living here. What do you advise? HG, Dubai

While I understand that neither of you wish to foot this bill, and you will have to face facts that to have the service reconnected will require the payment, therefore a compromise/decision (however unpalatable) will have to be made. My advice would be to initially pay to get the A/C switched back on then see if some sort of agreement can be reached with either the landlord or his representative. In the meantime, I’m sure that you can organise for the provider to send you the invoices rather than this contact. This way you will no longer have to rely on him to forward the bills and you can deal directly with Empower to settle your dues.

I booked an off-plan flat in 2015 under an instalment plan. Under the scheme I paid a 10 per cent advance and have now paid about 35 per cent of the amount, but I did not receive any legal document from the builder. Also, the builder has not started the construction yet, as they say possession will be by 2018. How can I check the legality of the building to avoid fraud and what are the chances of recovering my money? OG, Dubai

Initially, check the status of the project and if the developer is registered. You can do this on the Dubai Land Department (DLD) website (dubailand.gov.ae). Once on the home page, click on the bottom icon, most-used services, then click on project status tracking service. Put in the project name then click on the blue box for all the information. If no information is shown, check the spelling of the project name has been entered correctly. Additionally you should check on the developer by clicking on the search for approved developers. Put the name into the search box and the details should come up. If no data is shown, call the DLD directly on 800 4488 Sunday to Thursday 7.30am to 2.30pm for more information.

Remember, no developer can start a project unless it is recorded in the register retained at Rera. The names and details of the developer licensed to carry out real estate development activities in the emirate of Dubai are recorded in this.

For clarification, before any developer can start to sell properties off plan, he must register the project as per Law 8 of 2008. To do this there is a 10-point process as follows;

Obtain approval of development plans from Dubai Municipality or competent authority.

Obtain approval from DLD of detailed CAD drawings. These drawings will be used later for registration of the sale and purchase agreement (Spa) in the interim real estate register

Submit a copy of the Rera developer registration certificate

Create a project name

Open a trust account for the project and [produce a copy of the escrow account with the account trust]

Produce a copy of the Spa

Any agency or broker agreement must be registered with Rera by the developer as per Law 13 of 2008 Article 9

Submit copies of proposed marketing/advertising materials

Evidence of possession of site and obtaining all necessary approvals from the competent authorities

There should be no mortgage on the plot, but if it is mortgaged then 20 per cent of the construction must be completed before the developer can sell off-plan or 20 per cent of the value has to be placed into an escrow account

As you can see, the developer has to do many things before being allowed to start selling. Once you have satisfied yourself that the developer has at the very least completed the above, you can rest assured that the only problem will possibly be a delayed project. If you find that none of the above has been completed, I suggest you take legal advice to file a case against the developer.

Mario Volpi is the chief sales officer for Kensington Exclusive Properties and has worked in the property industry for over 30 years in London and Dubai. The opinions expressed do not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only. Please send any questions to mario.volpi@kensington.ae

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