Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 November 2019

Homefront: 'Can I break a tenancy contract I am unhappy with?'

The tenant has already written out cheques for the Dh32,000 studio apartment

The Abu Dhabi resident was wrongly told he could move out of the home whenever he wanted. Delores Johnson / The National
The Abu Dhabi resident was wrongly told he could move out of the home whenever he wanted. Delores Johnson / The National

I rented a studio for Dh32,000 and before signing the contract I asked the property manager if I could leave the unit at any time. He said I could and that all I needed to do was to inform him two months before, so I signed the contract and paid the Dh32,000 in a number of cheques. The next day I read the contract and found it was far too complicated. So I went back to the office and the manager said that because I had already signed, there was nothing they could do. I asked the police if I could stop the cheques but was told this was not possible. I also sought legal advice and was told I must have a genuine reason for breaking a contract. How can I get out of this contract? Would posting about the case on social media help me? SH, Abu Dhabi

A contract is a legally binding agreement between two or more parties and as such the contents need to be understood and agreed upon. Signing a contract without reading it is never recommended. I understand you put your faith in the property manager, however, you now find yourself in a situation that is not in your favour. Having said this, you are entitled to give your landlord two months' notice if you wish to break the contract; whether you will get any money back, however, is at the discretion of the landlord only. Remember, he or she is not obligated to agree to this unless it is written in the contract.

I realise you may be frustrated, however, I advise against posting anything defamatory on social media. The authorities take a dim view of anyone exploiting their position in this way, so to avoid getting into potential trouble, do not post anything.

I am also not entirely sure what you mean when you say the contract is complicated. I’ve read the contract you sent over to me and it appears to be in order. It is also registered on the Tawtheeq system so is perfectly legitimate.

To conclude, the only way to break the contract, and not lose any money in the process, is to convince the landlord or his/her representative. This is your best solution. Alternatively just work through the lease and enjoy the property for the duration of the time you live in it.

Mario Volpi is the sales and leasing manager at Engel & Volkers. He has worked in the property sector for 35 years in London and Dubai

The opinions expressed do not constitute legal advice and are provided for information only. Please send any questions to mario.volpi@engelvoelkers.com

Updated: October 16, 2019 06:31 PM

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