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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 20 July 2018

Homefront: 'My landlord lost my rental cheque for Dh140,000. Do I write another?

The Abu Dhabi resident wants guidance on the right steps to handle this situation

UAE's top-10 listed banks have improved their quarter-on-quarter performance in the first three months of this year. istockphoto.com
UAE's top-10 listed banks have improved their quarter-on-quarter performance in the first three months of this year. istockphoto.com

I recently rented an apartment on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. My landlord, via his agent, requested a deposit of Dh7,000 by cheque and the annual rent fee of Dh140,000 in a separate cheque. He cashed the deposit but now claims he has lost the cheque for Dh140,000. Although I trust the landlord, I am a little bit hesitant to issue another cheque. After all, if I would have paid him in cash, and later claimed he lost it, I would not pay again either. What is the proper way to handle this? AD, Abu Dhabi

Initially, I advise filing a police complaint, giving them all the details of the missing cheque. The police complaint has to be filed in the relevant jurisdiction where the cheque was lost (in this case Abu Dhabi). After they carry out the initial inquiry, the police will normally issue an order to the concerned bank to stop the cheque payment in case it is ever found again or presented to the bank in the future. Only upon receipt of such an order, together with the original protest, will the bank stop payment of the cheque.

If you do all of this, it would then be OK for you to re-issue another cheque to the landlord, however you should put a clause in the contract (include the cheque number and bank name) that states if the original cheque turns up, the money will either be returned to you or put as credit towards future rental payments. Also note that cheques become invalid if older than six months.

I can understand your reluctance to just issue another cheque but if you follow these steps, I’m sure you will be on the safe side.

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I rent my apartment directly from a landlord, who is also an acquaintance I know through work. He says we need a tenancy contract to make it all official. Where do I get this document from as in the past this has been supplied by a real estate agent? SP, Dubai

The Dubai Land Department announced the launch of its Unified Lease contract, which came into mandatory effect starting March 2017. The new contracts outline and define the roles and responsibilities of all parties involved in the contract, especially the landlord and tenants. Your landlord is therefore correct in requesting an official tenancy contract and this document can now be retrieved by visiting the Ejari website www.ejari.ae.

On the homepage on the right hand side there are five tabs that mention download, directly below the last one is another large box that says "download unified Ejari tenancy contract". Click this and you can start to fill out the necessary fields then print it off.

Alternatively, and for a fee (if so required), you could approach any Rera-registered real estate agent and request they do this for you. They can then act as a middle man between you and the landlord to also help to conclude any negotiations.

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