x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Abu Dhabi estate agent demands cheque ahead of rental contract renewal

Abu Dhabi tenant must pay rent before the tenancy contract is drawn up as the agent is using a new type of software that only drafts contracts once cheques have been received.

Some Abu Dhabi real estate companies use certain types of document software that actually do not allow the production of a tenancy contract without payment. Ravindranath K / The National
Some Abu Dhabi real estate companies use certain types of document software that actually do not allow the production of a tenancy contract without payment. Ravindranath K / The National

I have been renting an apartment in Al Raha Beach for the past two years. I recently advised my agent that I will renew for another year and requested that they send me the draft contract and Tawtheeq contract so I may review and sign them. The agent has come back saying that they must receive my payment first before they will issue the contract. Here is the exact statement taken from their email: “Our system this year cannot issue the contract without payment, for that we ask you to provide us the payment to issue the contract”. Is this legal? Surely I have the right to check the contract before I sign it and provide them with the cheque? I do not want to give them the cheque if I don’t know what the contract says. KC, Abu Dhabi

Some real estate companies use certain types of document software that actu­ally do not allow the production of a tenancy contract without payment. I do not know if your agent is now using one of these applications but can only surmise that this is the case. They cannot even send drafts as the computer system will only issue the actual contract and this is done only when the payment is made; the same is true with the Tawtheeq. I understand your dilemma but presumably you have a copy of your current contract, given that you are looking to renew, so I would recommend that you get written confirmation from the agent that there will be no additional terms and conditions added to the new contract. If there are to be addi­tions, then again those can be communicated to you via email. Once you are fully aware of the details and have agreed to them, you can go ahead and start the renewal process.

We live in Al Reef, Abu Dhabi and our tenancy contract expires on February 28. Towards the end of November the landlord contacted us to increase the rental price and find out if we were willing to renew the contract. After some negotiation we agreed on the price with him and told him we will renew. We were waiting for his secretary to send us the contract so that we could prepare the cheque, as we have done for the last three years with this landlord. But on January 26 the landlord contacted us through his secretary (as he always does) to ask when is a good time for an agent to view the villa as he was considering selling the house. Then on January 27, without us responding to the first email, his secretary contacted us again to inform us that the landlord is in the process of selling the villa and that the new owner wants to move in, therefore they want to know how much time we need to vacate. Is it legal for the landlord to do this after agreeing on the renewal and with only one month’s notice before the contract is due to expire? DS, Abu Dhabi

As per the tenancy law Article 20 (3), terminating, raising the rent or varying the lease in any way can only be done giving two months’ written notice prior to the date of the lease’s expiration. This window has now passed so the landlord has to renew with you as per his original intention back at the end of November last year. Irrespective of whether the property is now sold, the new owner will have to abide by the terms of your lease and allow you to renew just as your pre­sent landlord had agreed to; this is confirmed by Article 18 of the tenancy law. The terms and conditions of the lease passes to the new landlord and he has to abide by them. For him to now alter or terminate the agreement, the new landlord must give you two months’ written notice before the end of the agreement, in other words two months before February 28 2017, because this contract has to be allowed to commence as per the agreement between you and your old landlord.

Mario Volpi is a real estate professional who has worked within the industry for the past 31 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 mariovolpi64@gmail.com.

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