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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 22 May 2018

Homefront: 'My rent cheque will bounce, as I lost my job. Will my landlord wait for payment?'

Mario Volpi explains how the law on bounced cheques has changed in Dubai 

The tenant normally takes out a loan to pay his rent, but without a job he cannot borrow to pay the rent cheque. istockphoto.com
The tenant normally takes out a loan to pay his rent, but without a job he cannot borrow to pay the rent cheque. istockphoto.com

I've lost my job and cannot meet the next rent cheque. I was made redundant and had to leave the company immediately. Because I have debts to settle, most of my pay off will go to that, which leaves nothing for rent. I am looking for a new job and have a few leads but what is the best way to convince my landlord to wait a few weeks or so for the next payment. I normally pay twice a year and if he cashes in the cheque it will bounce. The amount is Dh64,000, and I could offer Dh20,000 but I need more time for the rest. I normally take out a rental loan to cover the amount but that is not possible without a job. SK, Dubai

Your situation is all too common and the only real advice I can offer is to suggest you meet up with your landlord to explain in a face-to-face setting your situation. Depending on the relationship you currently enjoy with him or her will determine the outcome.

I’m sure that if you can demonstrate you are actively looking for new employment and also offer something towards the next rental payment, ought to bring you some extra time in order to sort yourself out. It is important however to also be realistic and to put a target time frame in place so that if you do not get a job within a certain period, you must be transparent with the landlord and conclude with the proceedings.

It is also important to inform you about some rule changes regarding bounced cheques and/or failure to pay rent. These will no longer be put through the court system but instead be treated as a misdemeanour subject to financial penalties.

Under the new ruling, which came into effect in December last year, those responsible for bounced cheques of up to Dh50,000 will be fined Dh2,000, while those who bounce cheques of between Dh50,000 and Dh100,000 must pay a Dh5,000 fine, with a Dh10,000 fine for cheques between Dh100,000 and Dh200,000.

I appreciate that you will have issues in repaying some or all of the rent, however, borrowing in order to discharge your obligations is also not advisable.

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My neighbour is having a lot of construction work on her villa. It's a six-month project and because my villa is terraced, every bang on the wall echoes around my home. The noise is driving me a little crazy and our previous cordial relationship is starting to disintegrate, particularly as I work from home. Are there limits on when contractors can work in a residential villa as this seems to be going on seven days a week? NB, Dubai

Major construction work in residential areas is limited to certain restrictions imposed by the Dubai municipality; that said any building work on a private property that could also affect neighbours can also be subject to restrictions. Permitted noise levels during the day should not exceed 55 decibels (dB) between the hours of 7am to 8pm. Remember, hours of work do not include Friday. To put the 55dB into perspective, the noise of a car driving past is equivalent to 50 dB.

My advice would be to speak with your neighbour to explain how this noise is affecting you and to try to come to a mutual agreement. If, however, as you say, your relationship is disintegrating, you should complain to the municipality's noise control officer. If all else fails you could also file a complaint with the police for noise disturbance; this last point should really be your final resort therefore try to resolve the situation amicably first. Please note that noise pollution is not an actual crime in itself but it could lead to other criminal charges.

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