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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

Homefront: 'My good Dubai rent deal is being jeopardised by annual increases of 5%. Do I negotiate?'

The tenant has lived in the property for 15 years, which has helped keep the rent low until recently

The Dubai tenant says rents in the emirate are flat, meaning his bargain deal is beginning to look less attractive. Pawan Singh / The National
The Dubai tenant says rents in the emirate are flat, meaning his bargain deal is beginning to look less attractive. Pawan Singh / The National

I have lived in my apartment for 15 years, always negotiating hard with my landlord who also pays for all the maintenance. In the last five years he has been increasing the rent by 5 per cent every year. This was fine at first, but rents are pretty flat now and our good deal is starting to look less so as we catch up with the other rates in the nearby apartment buildings. I don't want to jeopardise our relationship at all, but I should I raise this at the next renewal in June? GK, Dubai

Good tenant/landlord relationships are extremely important and go a long way to resolve any issues that may arise in the future. Remember that a landlord can only increase the rent when two points are in play:

1. That the rental calculator states an increase is allowed

2. The landlord has to give 90 days' notice of the increase in writing

If both of these two points are active, then at the next renewal, the increase is allowed.

My advice would be to arrange a face-to-face meeting with the landlord to explain your position and to highlight your point. You might like to have evidence of other rents in the local area especially if you are looking to reduce the rental figure and can prove this to be a fair action.

For any changes to the contract, it is important not to wait until the renewal but to inform the other parties of the changes in good time but not less than 90 days prior to the expiration of the contract.

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Read more from Mario Volpi:

Homefront: 'How do I get the best deal if I'm breaking my apartment lease early?'

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

Homefront: Can a developer fine me for late payment a year after handover?

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I would like to buy an investment property in Dubai while prices are still on the low side. I'd like a one or two bedroom apartment in a good area that has potential for capital gains. I'm looking to spend no more than Dh1 million. What areas do you suggest? And what is your outlook for the emirate's property market going forward? LN, Dubai

It is true that the current property market falls in favour of any potential buyer in that there are many great options for investment, be it off plan (primary) or completed (secondary).

It is currently described as a buyers' market and therefore you are spoilt for choice.

When it comes to capital appreciation, you should look for a property that offers good amenities, facilities and great transport links. With a budget of Dh1m, I suggest you look at Al Furjan as a potential target location.

The area is undergoing transformation with transport infrastructure at its core.

New roads and bridges are being built linking the surrounding current road networks with the community but more importantly the Red Line Metro extension will run through Al Furjan, linking the Expo2020 site and Dubai World Central airport to the rest of the Metro. This alone will attract capital appreciation in the future, once the market returns to the state of equilibrium.

There are many apartments available both in the primary and secondary market that would satisfy your current interest. Remember if you decide to go for a completed or ready unit you can get an immediate return on investment by renting it out while you wait for the market to grow.

It is difficult to predict exactly when the market will improve for homeowners or investors but a more stable market will definitely return the closer we get to the extravaganza that is the Expo and of course as these communities complete in terms of facilities, schools, shops restaurants, retail and landscaping, the more in demand they will become.

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