Mario Volpi: Dubai landlord perplexed at crowd of bachelors living illegally with tenant

I have an apartment in International City, which I rented out to a family. I clearly mentioned in the tenancy contract that the apartment is only for the use of a family and I also spoke directly to the tenant on this matter. He agreed and signed the contract. After only a week, I found out there are eight bachelors living in the apartment. So I called the tenant and gave him a warning letter, and again he signed in agreement. But he remained living there with the bachelors. After that I sent him a one-month eviction notice from notary public. Despite receiving the letter he stayed in the apartment. The one-year tenancy contract finished on November 30 and still he has not vacated the apartment or renewed the tenancy contract. He is staying without paying anything. What can I do? I am at a big loss and he is enjoying an illegal, free stay in my apartment. AM, Dubai

Up until now, you have done everything in the correct manner. If the tenant has not paid the rent, the correct procedure now would be to send a final 30-day notice of payment to the tenant. After this time has elapsed, if the tenant has still not paid what is owed to you, you must immediately file a case at the rental dispute committee informing them that you have also sent the 30-day notice to pay. They will then take the necessary steps to sort this out.

I bought a flat in Ajman last year and, when purchasing, the owner of the building told me that I have to pay Dh6,000 for the maintenance of the flat and if anything happens they will repair it. They are now saying that the maintenance fee is for the lift and corridor. Until now I have not paid the maintenance fee because a lot of things need to be repaired in my flat. Now they are putting pressure on me to pay the fee. KS, Ajman

As an owner, you are responsible to pay maintenance charges for the day-to-day running of the building. In addition, there should also be a fund (reserve or sinking) for future expenditure to maintain the fabric of the tower for years to come. Presumably you have read through your sale and purchase agreement, which would have outlined the service charges.

My advice would be to call a meeting with the building owner or management company that is responsible for the upkeep of the building to explain how unhappy you are at the level of maintenance or lack thereof in your specific apartment.

Not paying your maintenance dues is also not advisable because if everyone did what you are doing the building would quickly fall into disrepair and that would be in nobody’s interest. Perhaps you can request sight of the building’s expenses report with reference to the lift and corridor so that you can get an understanding on the current charges.

I joined my company five months ago and rented an apartment for one year. However, my company has told me that my employment will be terminated within a month. I have paid my rent until next month but I have to give three months’ notice for the tenancy agreement. My landlord will not agree to the short notice. I also have an outstanding credit card balance of Dh20,000 that I will not be able to settle. Can I speak to a bank to come up with a better solution? I’m currently struggling to leave with my family. MS, Dubai

In this and other situations, it is always best to face up to the problem head on. I therefore suggest you arrange a meeting with your bank to see if they can arrange some sort of short-term credit for you. Alternatively, seek out a loan from a friend. I would also try to speak with the landlord again, as I’m sure he must have some compassion inside him somewhere. The most important next step is to find alternative employment quickly, otherwise this situation will only get worse for you.

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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