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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 September 2018

Homefront: 'Suspicious' tenancy contract concerns new Abu Dhabi resident

The former Dubai resident has relocated to Khalifa City in the capital but is unsure whether the landlord is legitimate

The tenant has a tenancy contract in their name, but it relates to an apartment in another villa. Ravindranath K / The National
The tenant has a tenancy contract in their name, but it relates to an apartment in another villa. Ravindranath K / The National

I was living in Dubai until my company asked me to move to Abu Dhabi on short notice. Due to lack of time to make a decision, I rented an apartment inside a villa in Khalifa City 15 days ago through a broker. I paid Dh39,000 by cheque and made it clear to the owner I would need a legitimate apartment with tenancy contract. The owner has given me a tenancy contract under my name but belonging to an apartment in another villa. I also realised that he is not the owner of the villa but is renting out the property on behalf of the owner. I find this suspicious, so what needs to be done before it's too late? RD, Abu Dhabi

I hope that it is not already too late because the information given does not sound too legitimate to me. I suggest you request to see documented proof from the real owner, that he has allowed the subleasing of his property. Sub-leasing is not allowed, unless the owner is aware of it. If he cannot provide this or he is not aware of the subletting, then you may already be in trouble. In case of any difficulties, I also suggest you contact the police because this sounds like it may escalate into fraud, if not already.

I would like to stress that renting from a tenant who is sub-leasing can be fine as long as the actual landlord is aware and is being legitimately paid by the original tenant. The fear here is that the sub tenant (you) pays the original tenant but he doesn’t pay the landlord. To avoid this, get confirmation that everybody is aware of the arrangement; if not demand your money back and look for something else.

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Read more from Mario Volpi:

Homefront: New expat loses Dh50,000 in a Dubai property rental scam

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I have a problem with the shared flat my family is renting in Dubai. We are not the owners of the apartment and we pay out Dh2,200 rent monthly. We moved in last December and now we are planning to move out. We share this accommodation with another family. My wife is now pregnant with our second baby and we have one son going to school. Our main concern is this: the landlord (owner of the flat) wants us to pay the remaining two months of the shared utility bills, which around Dh800. We are also owed the deposit of Dh2,200; they are telling that the deposit is consumable and that whether we use it or not it's already with them for whatever purposes. They obviously don't want to refund it. So my question is, can they not use the deposit to cover the utility bill? What should we do? NT, Dubai

Firstly, the rental deposit is given in case of any damage or for repair of a property in order to bring it back to the same condition it was given when first the tenant moved in. The deposit should not be used for any other reason other than what was mentioned before. Having said this, if money is owed from a tenant that has already vacated, it can sometimes be used to clear debts accrued by the absent tenant. In your case, you are still living in the property therefore you should be able to discharge your outstanding liabilities before vacating. If it is more convenient for you to have your share of the utility paid out of the deposit, so be it, but the remaining monies have to be returned to you by the landlord.

Mario Volpi is the chief sales officer for Kensington Exclusive Properties and has worked in the property industry for over 30 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@kensington.ae

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