x

Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

Homefront: Can my landlord evict me over arguments about unresolved maintenance issues? 

The Abu Dhabi tenant wants to stay in the apartment but has been asked to leave in May

Many of the tenant's maintenance concerns have not been fixed by the Abu Dhabi property manager. Delores Johnson / The National
Many of the tenant's maintenance concerns have not been fixed by the Abu Dhabi property manager. Delores Johnson / The National

I live in Abu Dhabi and my property is managed by a company on behalf of the landlord. Since I moved in I have had a number of maintenance issues, some of which are still not fixed, so I have made several complaints. I have received an email from the agent telling me they are not going to renew my lease in May when my tenancy is up. Can they do this? The reason they have given is based on conversations I have had with them where I got angry about the fact that I have outstanding maintenance issues (some more than six months old). I have always paid my rent on time and do not want to move because I love my apartment and want to stay there for couple of years. What rights do I have and how I can get them to retract the notice? TD, Abu Dhabi

Any landlord has the responsibility to maintain the property and keep it fit for purpose; this can include carrying out necessary repairs such as structural issues, any electrical problems, plumbing or any concerns to walls, ceilings or the roof (if a villa) and so on. If a landlord does not deal with the repairs after a certain period of time, the tenant has the right to carry out the necessary improvements but they must first seek the guidance of the rent committee.

With reference to the email you received from the property manager, please note that if an Abu Dhabi landlord does not wish to renew the tenancy contract with you, they do not actually have to give you a reason but merely inform you of this fact by giving at least 60 days written notice prior to the expiration of the contract.

My advice would be to personally meet the property manager. At this meeting, you have to find some common ground between you. Although you were quite within your rights to have got angry or frustrated about the lack of maintenance or repair work that has or has not been done in the past, losing your cool or getting aggressive only leads to individuals clamming up.

I’m not suggesting you apologise for any past behaviour but you clearly have to try and repair your relationship with the property manager to get them back on your side

Ultimately, if there is no way of changing their minds, you really do not have much choice but to comply with the request or if you really do feel strongly about their wrongdoing, you can always file a case at the rental committee.The outcome cannot be second-guessed if it goes that far.

My take on this is, if you cannot get an agreement, use the time to find another suitable property and put the whole episode down to experience.

______

Read more from Mario Volpi:

Homefront: Dubai agent refuses to refund Dh6,000 booking fee despite tenant cancelling within 24 hours

Homefront: Should UAE property agents charge VAT on commission?

Homefront: 'My property agent is forcing me into a maintenance contract. Is that legal?'

Homefront: Is there a formal way for a landlord to withdraw an eviction notice?

______

I have a couple of units in a building that my company manages that we need back after eight months. Can I lease them out for eight months and issue the Ejari. And since I want them back within eight months, what safeguards should I put into the tenancy contract? Can I get the tenant to sign a vacating letter? Is that legal? RP, Dubai

If you wish to have vacant possession on a couple of apartments in eight months’ time, I suggest you rent them out on a short-term basis. You will be able to register them with Ejari as the requirement is for a minimum of six months lease.

Renting on a longer term basis but also requesting vacant possession after the eight months is tricky because you will not be able to guarantee the tenant will actually vacate at the necessary time. Ordinary vacating letters from tenants are not worth much unless they are legally notarised, only then do they “hold water”.

If you do decide to rent the units out on a short-term basis, remember they will have to be registered with the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (www.dtcm.gov.ae/holiday homes) and you must pay the necessary fees.

The license fees are Dh1,520 for online registration, which includes the knowledge and innovation fees; Dh300 per bedroom per year up to maximum of Dh1200; Dh70 for management fees, which includes the knowledge and innovation fees, and a tourism fee of Dh10 per standard bedroom or Dh15 per deluxe bedroom, per night up to a maximum of 30 nights. You should also factor in buildings and contents insurance, cleaning and laundry fees, etc.

Mario Volpi is the chief sales officer for Kensington Exclusive Properties and has worked in the property industry for more than 30 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@kensington.ae