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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

Homefront: Tenant struggling to connect TV or internet in his new apartment due to faulty cabling was refused help by "rude" estate agent

The Dubai resident wants to know who is responsible for the issue in the newly built home

Who's responsible for making sure the internet works in your apartment? Getty Images
Who's responsible for making sure the internet works in your apartment? Getty Images

I rented an apartment last month and when the telecoms company went to install the TV/Internet they realised the cables inside the walls are not working. The building is new and the building management say this is out of their scope. The (rude) real estate agent says it's not his problem and I should deal with the landlord directly. Is there a way I can open a dispute and get this fixed? Is the real estate agent in his right to refuse helping with this matter? If he's not, can I press charges against him or the agency? I will contact the landlord directly but I would like to know who is responsible for this? AS, Dubai

This problem will definitely have to involve the landlord as the property belongs to him. He does have a duty of care to you as his tenant. The agent has not actually broken any law, he is just being very narrow minded in his approach to you and in doing so is not very professional nor I guess is he interested in future business with you by refusing to help. An agent receives commission for finding a property, negotiating the rent including the terms and conditions, organising the contract, collection and distributing the rent. The work officially ends here but he can still be polite and helpful. I am surprised that the building management is also not really helping as they would be able to liaise with the developer on behalf of the owner. The developer has a one-year liability to fix any defective installations, namely MEP (mechanical, electrical or plumbing) and a 10-year liability to fix any structural defects from the date on the completion certificate. Telecommunications could be a grey area in the eyes of the law, however, but either way, this problem is remedied by a joint effort between the owner and developer and perhaps you in assistance.

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Read more:

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A tenant vacated one of our offices in Jumeirah Lake Towers without any notice in writing or otherwise. However, he did vacate at the expiry of the tenancy contract. We had sent him a reminder letter 90 days before and his office had acknowledged the receipt of the letter, which clearly stated that they need to come back to us 30 days before to confirm the renewal but there was no communication from them, even though we sent them reminder via email. There was also no communication for non-renewal. There was nothing in the tenancy contract which states that the tenant has to give any prior notice before vacating. He is now asking for his security deposit to be returned. Can you help us understand the law with regards to the vacating notices and whether we can hold back his security deposit to cover for the loss in rent due to vacancy. RP, Dubai

Law 26 of 2007 was amended by Law 33 of 2008. This amended law did away with the need for a tenant to give notice for reason of not renewing the tenancy contract. In the absence of any specific notice period mentioned within the contract, in theory, any tenant can leave at the end of the contractual date without giving notice.

This doesn’t really help a landlord who obviously wishes to know what a tenant will do in either renewing or not so that they can plan to market the property or not. Your tenant has therefore not broken any laws by vacating at the end of the contract. You are not allowed to keep the deposit for the reason of loss of rent due to vacancy. If, however, there were issues relating to the maintenance or to replace any damages done by the tenant during his tenancy, you are entitled to deduct the relevant amount and return the difference (if any).

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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