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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 September 2018

Homefront: 'Rents are coming down, so how can I get my landlord to budge?'

The Abu Dhabi resident's landlord is demanding a 5 per cent increase

The tenant says his neighbours pay up to Dh15,000 less for the same apartment. Delores Johnson / The National
The tenant says his neighbours pay up to Dh15,000 less for the same apartment. Delores Johnson / The National

I'm reading that rents have come down but my landlord won't budge and is still insisting on a 5 per cent increase on my apartment in Abu Dhabi. I have neighbours that have just moved into the building that pay Dh10,000 to Dh15,000 less for their apartments. How can I convince my landlord to lower the rent? RM, Abu Dhabi

Convincing your landlord to agree to a reduction in your rent has many factors attached to the process.

The first point I would ask is what sort of business relationship you have with the landlord? Hopefully it is good or cordial at the very least, which will help in putting your point across.

Evidence of other similar properties and their rental prices will help to show that the rents have been falling, include newspaper and magazine articles to highlight what the Abu Dhabi rental market is presently going through.

I suggest all this is done in a face-to-face meeting. If after all of this, the landlord still does not see your point of view, I suggest you look for alternative accommodation.

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How much notice do I need to give my landlord to move out? I have to leave this summer for personal reasons so will not be renewing the contract in July. So, when should I let my landlady know I am not planning to renew? KH, Dubai

It is always polite to give your landlord as much notice as possible if you are not going to renew the contract. As per the law, a tenant technically doesn’t have to give any specific amount of notice if not renewing. Law 26 of 2007 is the law that specifically deals with the relationship between landlords and tenants and it was amended by Law 33 of 2008. This amended law did away with the need for a tenant to give notice when not renewing. Having said all of this, I would let your landlord know immediately that you will not be renewing. This way he has a good amount of time to find another suitable tenant to mitigate any void periods between you moving out and a new tenant moving in.

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Homefront: 'My landlord wants to charge us Dh500 for every maintenance issue

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I have no maintenance arrangement with my landlord. At the moment I am paying for any work upfront with the intention of charging him at the next renewal. The first year we had no work done but now, in our second year, there are a few niggles in the apartment that need fixing. The landlord lives overseas but flies in every October to meet his tenants for renewal. I have emailed him about this but received no reply. Am I taking a risk by paying upfront? YN, Dubai

When it comes to property maintenance, the industry norm is that any issues that require a payment less than Dh500 are regarded as minor and are the responsibility of the tenant. Any amount above Dh500 is the landlord's responsibility. That said, communication with the landlord is key and whatever you end up spending, there is no harm in emailing the owner to inform him.

it is important, however, that before going ahead with any large maintenance expenses, you ought to get the green light from the landlord, if nothing else so that he will not get a shock when you deduct the monies from the rent at renewal.

Any owner knows that being a responsible landlord comes at a price, so, to be reimbursed, make sure you inform him about each spend on the property.

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

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