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Most landlords want a quiet life and to just receive rent, but would not hesitate to eject unreasonable tenants. Rich-Joseph Facun / The National
Most landlords want a quiet life and to just receive rent, but would not hesitate to eject unreasonable tenants. Rich-Joseph Facun / The National

What makes a good landlord-tenant relationship in the UAE?

Communication is key, as well as openness and honesty, to having a good relationship with your landlord.

Mario, what makes a good tenant? I like my apartment and wish to stay on good terms with the landlord. What are some great things tenants have done, in your experience, and what are some awful things? And what are some of the great/bad landlord things you have heard of? JB, Fujairah

What a good question.

In my column I sometimes write about advice in resolving issues due to, in the main, unreasonable behaviour on the part of either the landlord or tenant, or both. Sadly what cannot be relied upon is the reaction by people when situations arise. Their reactions/behaviour is what causes the breakdown between the parties. Common sense should prevail, but unfortunately that is not always the case.

Some tips on what makes a good tenant could be as follows.

Remaining on good terms is all about building relations and writing from experience, I can say that this is what all tenants should try to do.

Communication is the key to this so keep it cordial and invite the landlord round for a coffee and a chat if they are in the area. This shows the landlord that you are looking after his property and promotes an open relationship. During the downturn many landlords accepted multiple cheques to try and help tenants, but now that the market has picked up (if the tenant is able) it would be good if the favour can be returned by paying in fewer cheques.

Most landlords want a quiet life, to just receive the rent and get on with their lives and business. So in order not to disturb your landlord unnecessarily, make sure there are clear guidelines as to the maintenance agreement. It is normal for minor maintenance (under Dh500) to be the responsibility of the tenant, whereas major maintenance is the responsibility of the landlord. I have heard instances when tenants turn to their landlord for guidance and reimbursement when light bulbs need to be replaced. If there are major issues to be resolved, look to agree a strategy for payment.

Treat the property as if it is your own but always seek permission for internal decorations or improvements, even down to asking the landlord if he minds you putting up pictures etc. This shows the landlord that the tenant has respect for his wishes.

On the other side there are many ways an owner could become a great landlord. One way that would receive great respect from the tenant would be if the landlord addressed any maintenance issues quickly, especially if the tenant has initially paid for work and is expecting reimbursement. Being flexible, especially on the number of cheques the landlord is prepared to accept, would be a great help to any tenant. Some of the negatives I have heard from the landlord’s side would be ignoring pertinent requests from the tenant, especially on the subject of maintenance. Being aggressive and unreasonable would be another bad trait, but I guess this could also be aimed at some tenants.

The key to all of this would be to treat everybody with respect and to keep communications open. The majority of tenancies go well, and as long as both landlords and tenants abide by the rules then everybody should be happy.

Mario Volpi is the managing director of Prestige Real Estate in Dubai and has worked in the property industry in London and Dubai for the past 29 years. Send any questions to mario@prestigedubai.com

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