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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 June 2018

Homefront: Can I use a power of attorney to sell my Abu Dhabi apartment?

The UAE resident will be relocating to the UK before the sale transaction is complete

Abu Dhabi alcohol sales will include a 30 per cent tax from Friday. Alex Atack / The National
Abu Dhabi alcohol sales will include a 30 per cent tax from Friday. Alex Atack / The National

We're selling our apartment in Abu Dhabi, as we will be relocating back to the UK. The sale process is well under way with the buyer having received mortgage approval and the buyer's bank requesting documents. My new employer is requesting I start as soon as possible, and it is highly likely that I will need to return to the UK before the sale is finalised, particularly as Abu Dhabi is now introducing title deeds, which appear to be required before a transfer is completed. Is there a way to give power of attorney (POA) to someone locally to sign the final agreements on our behalf? TB, Abu Dhabi

Having a POA is a perfectly normal way of transacting business when one or more of the parties are absent. You will be able to organise this via a Notary Public at the Abu Dhabi courts before you travel. It is an easier process to do while still in the country than from the UK, for example, when the process is more protracted and will take longer.

When applying for a POA in the country, one has to go to a typing centre to prepare the document in English and Arabic; it is then attested in the courts with the cost approximately Dh200 to Dh300 plus typing. If the POA is coming from outside of UAE, it is a longer process. Again it has to be prepared in the language of choice by a notary, then it goes to the UAE embassy within the said country to be attested. The document has to be attested again in the UAE within the ministry of foreign affairs. The document will have to be legally translated into Arabic at this point if not already translated beforehand in order for it to be legally used. The costs involved vary from county to country.

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I own a three-bedroom apartment in The Greens in Dubai and it is rented out at Dh157,500 in one cheque, with the tenancy due to end on March 19. Since the end of last year, I have asked my tenant, via WhatsApp, if he wishes to renew or not - but he did not give me a clear answer. On February 18, he finally confirmed he does not wish to renew. The contract says there is a two-month notice period, so I asked him if he will give me an extra month's rent to make up two month's notice. I also said he could continue staying in the apartment until April 19, but he has completely refused. To give you context, I rent in Jumeirah Lake Towers and was planning to move into my apartment in The Greens when the current tenant vacates, but my contract runs from February to February. After my tenant said he was leaving, I asked my landlord for a shorter, three-month contract, but he wants six months. Can I push my tenant to pay me the one-month's rent? If he disagrees, do I have the right to go to the court over this? I do not want to be unreasonable, yet I also do not want to be financially in the negative when my tenant has delayed things from his end. AP, Dubai

With reference to the notice given when a tenant does not wish to renew, previously, under Law 26 of 2007, 90 days notice was the standard requirement to effect the same. Law 33 of 2008 amended Law 26 of 2007 and did away with the need for a tenant to give notice if he/she did not wish to renew at the end of the tenancy.

The fact that your agreement states that 60 days' notice has to be given in the event of non-renewal contradicts the current law. In the event that a clause in a contract does go against the law, it is regarded as null and void.

My advice would be to arrange a face-to-face meeting with the tenant to come to some form of agreement. If all else fails, you can take your chances and file a case at the rental committee.

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