How can UAE landlord resolve an appliance dispute with her tenant?

My tenant demanded a new fridge four months after the tenancy started because he said the old one had broken down. While I was communicating with him, he just went and bought a new one at a high price without informing me. He only told me once he had already installed it. He is now demanding reimbursement and for me to get rid of the old fridge. I told him I would get the old one repaired and since he had bought the new appliance without my approval I would not reimburse him. He didn’t agree and to solve the problem I offered him half the price of the new fridge. However, he still wants the full price and said that Rera has advised him to file a case for reimbursement. How can he buy things at his own free will at such a high cost on my account without my approval? What should I do? AT, Dubai

It is of course your responsibility to replace or repair any broken or damaged items in your rented property and these include appliances that formed part of the tenancy. You did not mention how long a period of time passed between the old fridge breaking and the tenant buying a new one. The reason I ask is that sometimes people take the situation into their own hands when confronted with obstacles or long periods of getting nowhere with concerned parties, by this I mean your tenant and you agreeing what best to do. The tenant is entitled to have the fridge replaced if the old one cannot be repaired but also the tenant has to be reasonable and give you time to sort things out. Given the information, I see you have two choices:

1. Wait for the hearing at the rental committee to decide what is the best course of action, or

2. Find out the cost of replacing a new same model as before (or equivalent), then offer to pay the same amount. You will be able to demonstrate that what you are offering is justified and fit for purpose rather than just half of the cost of the tenant’s choice of fridge.

I am about to rent for the first time in Dubai. At what point in the rental process do I have to pay the broker fee, and also can they ask for this in cash? AP, Dubai

The broker fee becomes payable when you sign the tenancy contract. At this point you would hand over approximately three cheques – one current-dated for the agent’s commission, one current-dated for the deposit and the last cheque(s) post-dated for the actual rent.

It is wrong to assume, as some tenants do, that the agent’s commission cheque should be post-dated to the date of moving in or only given on this same date. As per Rera rules, when the contract is signed (irrespective of when the moving-in date is), the agency is entitled to the commission.

With reference to your second point, I would steer away from paying the fee in cash. It is always better to pay by cheque so there is a paper trail in case of any disputes.

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

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