Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 23 August 2019

Homefront: Landlord insists tenants pay for repairs following break-in

The Dubai residents had some personal items taken following the burglary at their Dubai villa

The landlord says the tenants are liable for damage to a sliding door at the property. Pawan Singh / The National
The landlord says the tenants are liable for damage to a sliding door at the property. Pawan Singh / The National

Our villa was broken into and some personal items taken. However, the thieves also damaged the sliding door as they used some device to unlock and open it. Now we cannot close the door and it needs repairing, but the landlord says the liability lies with us. But surely this is his property, therefore he is responsible as we do not want this to happen again. To be honest, we would also like better locks to protect our home. How do we negotiate on this point? NB, Dubai

Given you are asking this kind of question, I assume you do not have any contents insurance or insurance of any kind of your own. If however you do, the easiest way to claim would be to get a police report along with your insurance paperwork all together to the insurance company as soon as possible. At this stage you can also ask the landlord if he has cover too.

When it comes to repairing any damage to items by third parties, without the necessary insurance cover, it is always a battle to get landlords to share in any of the associated costs. Now given you live at the property, any damage that requires repairs or replacement that also compromise your safety should be dealt with as soon as possible. Negotiating the sharing of these costs where agreed, can always be dealt with at a later stage. Secure the property first, then talk later.

Insurance policies are not costly, yet everyone believes that these unfortunate incidents will not befall them so do not bother to take out any cover. Insurance is one of those things in life one will always miss when an unfortunate event occurs and no policy is in place.


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I am new to Dubai and to the whole renting experience. I have moved into an apartment and have been told by my new landlord that I need an Ejari. What is this document for? How do I get it? And who bears the cost - the landlord or me? YT, Dubai

When renting a property in Dubai, it is mandatory that you register your lease contract through the Ejari System. In the past, this was the responsibility of the landlord to organise but the tenant is responsible to pay. Having said this, it is becoming more and more common for private tenants to do the Ejari themselves directly. You will also need the Ejari certificate when doing the following;

• Getting or renewing visas

• For media/internet connections

• Obtaining a commercial licence

• Employing domestic staff

• Acquiring an alcohol licence

You also cannot connect your Dewa without first registering the tenancy contract on the Ejari system. Registering is easy and can be done at one of the government service centres or online via Ejari.ae.

If you carry out the process online, you must first register as a user then you need to upload your required documents such as the tenancy contract, passport copies, Emirates ID, title deed of the property, etc. then pay the required fees. Your Ejari certificate will be emailed back to you in less than a day. In case of difficulty you can contact the customer support number which is 800 4488 or 04230541/42.

Mario Volpi is the sales and leasing manager at Engel & Volkers. He has worked in the property sector for 34 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: July 4, 2018 02:26 PM