UMM AL QAiWAIN // Authorities say tenants throughout the emirate must ensure their contracts are attested by the municipality or face a fine.
The municipality has attested 1,620 contracts since the start of the year, said Ali Mohammed Khalfan bin Sullam, the director of its Real Estate Disputes Committee.
"There are several contracts out there unattested, and that means they are illegal," he said.
"A number of tenants have come to our committee with disputes while their contracts were unattested, and we are now making it clear we shall not look into any dispute with an unattested contract."
He said the committee had heard 33 disputes and settled 31 this year. Bounced cheques were the most common issues, with 11 cases reported.
Mr bin Sullam called on all government departments to reject any unattested contract.
"The awareness here has to start with real estate firms and dealers," he said. "We have asked all of them to make sure their clients have attested contracts and keep a copy in their offices."
Fines for a non-attested contract range from Dh1,000 to Dh10,000. Mr bin Sullam said anyone whose contract was not attested the previous year would owe a fine of 1 per cent of annual rent in addition to municipality attestation fees.
Burhan Kasirye, an Umm al Qaiwain resident, blamed property companies for not telling tenants to get the attestation.
"Last year they gave me a contract I signed and they signed, but they told me it was not necessary to go to the municipality as their signature was enough," he said. "I wish the authorities could just fine the real estate firms only."
Subletting was another reason tenants did not attest their contracts, according to Abdul Jabbar, 40, a resident of Salama.
"For the past five years, we have shared a villa with another family that rented it and had all documents attested in their names," he said.