Dubai tenant told to pay bills, rent for two apartments at the same time
Q: I have been living in a one-bedroom apartment in Dubai for three years. Then we shifted to a two-bedroom in the same building with the same landlord on June 1 last year, handing over the keys of the previous flat on the same day. We applied for our final utility bill on June 3 and paid it on June 16. When we asked for our security deposit of Dh3,000, the landlord’s office told us they would only be paying us Dh167. They said they had deducted the painting and maintenance charges of around Dh1,000 as well as the remaining 16 days rent for the month of June. This, they say, is because we did not pay the electricity bill until June 16 even though the electricity was disconnected on June 3. Our next contract in the same building started on June 1. So how can one landlord charge us for two apartments between June 1 to June 16? Can I approach the regulatory agency in this case? AS, Dubai
A: You can speak to the Real Estate Regulatory Agency but it will most likely refer you to the rental dispute settlement committee (RDSC). To file a case with RDSC will cost 3.5 per cent of the annual rent. You can see that it is not economically viable for you to file a case. My advice would be to speak with the landlord and negotiate an agreement. I can see both sides of the argument but it does seem too small an amount to fight over given you are still the tenant of the landlord/owner of the present apartment you are living in. Building good relationships is of vital importance and while I understand you are annoyed or feel cheated, try to remedy the situation by negotiating for the sake of future relations.
Q: I have been renting a villa in Mirdif since 2010. Every February without fail (three months before the contract ends), I have contacted the landlord, agreed on the rent, and within a few days received the contract. This year, things were slightly different. I contacted him in February to discuss a six-month contract instead of one year and he agreed. However, a few days later I called him again and said I had changed my mind as my plans to leave the UAE had been delayed until 2018. I told him I would therefore like to renew for the full year (May 2017 to May 2018) and that May 2018 would likely be the date I will vacate the villa and permanently leave the UAE. He agreed to this and I asked if he could send the new contract so that I can sign it and provide him with the four cheques. I have still not received the contract and have contacted him regularly to follow up; he consistently says he will send it over as soon as possible. The current contract ends on May 10. What are my options if by May 10, I do not receive the contract? Additionally, my family’s residency visas are up for renewal in June. If I still do not have the contract by then, I would also not have an Ejari registration, so how would I go about obtaining it? JA, Dubai
Given your past good relationship with your landlord, I would not worry too much because there would appear to be no reason why the landlord will not come forward with the contract in time for the renewal. Having said this, there is also another solution I can offer you. You can arrange the contract yourself (via an agency) and lodge the contract and rental cheques with Rera at the Land Department. They will contact the landlord on your behalf to request he picks up the documents etc. I don’t think you will need to do this but just in case, this way you can get your contract by renewal date. Don’t forget that a contract automatically renews anyway (unless otherwise agreed) even if there is no new supporting documentation.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org