I have agreed to rent an apartment in Dubai directly from a landlord who lives overseas. He is asking for a security deposit of Dh5,500, 5 per cent of the rent, which he will retain and hand back at the end of the tenancy. He told me this will be written into the contract, but I wanted to check what legal protection I have to ensure the deposit is returned. I am a landlord myself in the United Kingdom and all deposits are held independently by something called the tenants' deposit scheme. Is there any similar system in the UAE and what would you advise I do to ensure I can successfully reclaim my deposit at the end of the tenancy term? MB, Dubai
While Dubai has a Real Estate Regulatory Authority (Rera), it does not focus on deposits, nor is there a requirement for tenants' deposits to be kept in a separate account. The important factor is to ensure your tenancy agreement clearly states the deposit will be returned to you at the end of the tenancy. Provided you hand the property back in the same condition you received it, there is no reason why the landlord should not repay the deposit in full. A certain amount of wear and tear should be expected and unless you specifically agree to repaint before vacating the landlord cannot ask you to do so. You should ensure that the tenancy contract is registered with Rera and this should be done by the landlord under the Ejari system. Do ensure that you get a receipt for the deposit and retain this, together with proof of ownership of the property and a copy of the landlord's passport. If the landlord refuses to repay a deposit, you can refer the matter to Rera.
Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai. Contact her at email@example.com