Dubai tenant prohibited from storing kayak and fishing equipment in allocated parking space

I have lived in an apartment in Dubai for more than 10 years and have always stored a few things behind my allocated basement parking spot – a kayak and a cupboard of fishing equipment, which the landlord accepted. However, this week, the landlord contacted me and said there had been a Municipality inspection and I had to remove everything immediately or be fined Dh5,000. I understand the Municipality may require removal of anything that is a fire risk or hazardous, but I am not storing such items. Is this a new policy? And what are tenants allowed to store in basement parking according to Dubai Municipality? RP, Dubai

I think your answer lies in contacting the managing agent for the building. They will be able to explain what Dubai Municipality would allow the storage of and where. It is true that many managing agents do not allow the storing of bikes, prams, strollers, etc in common areas such as outside apartment doors in communal hallways or rear service areas. They do quote fire regulations as the reason for their removal. It is difficult to say why all of a sudden you are now being asked to remove your items, especially as you have the landlord’s consent and presumably have not been contacted by security or managing agents to remove them before. You could also try calling Dubai Municipality directly on 800 900 or visit the website www.dm.gov.ae for more information.

I live in Dubai Marina on a short-term monthly contract that is due to expire next month. The contract mentions that the rent cannot be increased before October 3 and if it increases after this date I am to be told one month in advance. I have just been told the new contract terms: the same rent of Dh7,000 for the first month and then from November it will increase to Dh7,700. Is this allowed? BV, Dubai

Short-term or holiday rentals are now regulated by Dubai Trade Commerce Marketing. To check if your landlord is acting legally, he would need to produce his registration certificate allowing him to rent out his property on a short-term basis. If he is not individually registered as an operator, he can still rent out the property for short-term lets by using the services of a licensed operator company from the real estate sector. If he is acting illegally and he gets caught, he will be fined.

With reference to the agreed contract, if the landlord wishes to increase the rent by Dh700 per month and he has given you the notice to do so, he is entitled to request this, but whether you choose to accept is another matter. If renting short-term accommodation is convenient for you, then you will have to weigh up if this increase is better than the hassle and cost of finding another property.

Remember, if the landlord is acting illegally by not being registered and does get fined, it is possible you will also be asked to leave. Ultimately you must decide if you are happy with this increase, but in terms of the written agreement the landlord is within his rights.

In Dubai freehold areas (particularly Discovery Gardens) can the landlord charge tenants a fee of 5 per cent of the rental value towards upkeep of common areas? This is over and above the Dubai Municipality-approved rent increase. Also, I am paying approx Dh4,000 in cooling charges for the studio apartment that I have lived in for the last four years. In last year’s tenancy contract, the landlord included a clause stating that 5 per cent additional fee would be levied in the following year (next renewal) towards upkeep of common areas. I apparently didn’t notice this at that time. AD, Dubai

The cost of the annual building maintenance or service charge is the responsibility of the landlord, not the tenant. However, if your landlord has written in the agreement that the tenant has to pay for these charges and effectively given you 12 months’ notice to which you have signed, it means you have agreed to this. You may have missed this clause in your present contract, but you have signed for it.

My advice would be to organise a meeting with the landlord to explain your position that you are already pay the going rent and additional cooling charges, so cannot afford or will not accept paying yet another levy on top. If he does not agree, you always have the choice of vacating and finding another property. I’m sure you will find some common ground with the landlord when he realises he may have to relet it if you move out.

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 mario.volpi@kensington.ae

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