x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Homefront: Utilities bills unpaid after tenant’s departure

Property also needs work – so can the deposit be used to cover the cost?

My tenant has left my apartment with outstanding Dewa and Palm utilities bills. I have spoken to the tenant about this matter but no bills have been settled as of yet. He left the apartment on January 1, the day after the contract expired. I have the deposit which covers damage to furniture and furbishings. So can I use this money to pay the bills. It is a furnished apartment which has been left in a less than ideal condition so I have to redo the apartment, which has delayed it being rented out. JKM, Dubai

The deposit is held in case of repair to the property due to damage caused by the tenant or to redecorate the property to bring it back to how it was before it was let in the first place. If not mentioned in any addendum that the deposit will be used for any non-payment of utility bills by tenant, then it is arguable that this money can be used to discharge this liability. I do not think that any judge in the land would deem it unfair if you did use it for this purpose as it is the tenant’s responsibility to make the final payment and leave the property in a good and proper manner.

Mario Volpi is the managing director of Prestige Real Estate in Dubai (prestigedubai.com). He has 30 years of property industry experience in the emirate and London. Send any questions to mario@prestigedubai.com