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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 June 2018

Tenant wants to name and shame his landlord over a delayed deposit

The rental contract was terminated early and the former Dubai tenant has now taken the case to Rera to be resolved.

The tenant has taken the case to Dubai's Real Estate Regulatory Authority because the landlord did not respond to his demands for a refund. Antonie Robertson / The National
The tenant has taken the case to Dubai's Real Estate Regulatory Authority because the landlord did not respond to his demands for a refund. Antonie Robertson / The National

I had to terminate my tenancy contract prematurely due to work-related issues. The flat was handed over and all contractual obligations were fulfilled. However, the landlord's Power of Attorney (PoA) has been stalling the refund of the rent and my deposit citing lack of funds and stating he would repay only when the apartment was re-rented. He has not given any definite time line. I asked for a post-dated cheque as I was leaving the country but he refused on the grounds it would bounce. I then filed a case with the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) but there was a no show by the PoA at the scheduled court hearing. I flew into the country just for the case and was told it would be a simple clear-cut case and assured that if there was a no show the judge would give his verdict based on the documents in front of him. But the court has referred the case for further investigation as the landlord is part of an offshore company and it will involve a lot of legwork and expense, which cannot be recovered. What are the options available to me? And is there any way I can name and shame the owner as he is a very famous personality? I do not want others to undergo what I went through. UR, Dubai

Unfortunately, now that this has gone to litigation, it is going to take time and you will not be able to push it along any faster than the course of time it will naturally take.

I would advise against naming and shaming as this would be seen as negative on your part, so I suggest you refrain from this type of action.

I do not know what sums are involved but given it is a deposit, it cannot be such a sum that is life-changing. My advice would be to remain calm and let the system take its natural course. Request that you are kept informed with proceedings and I’m sure that soon enough you will be reunited with your deposit.

We bought an apartment in Dubai with a tenant inside and the contract expired at the end of last month. We finished the transfer process with the previous landlord June 4, so we didn't have any chance to talk to the existing tenant before that day. Now we have a problem as the tenant is refusing to agree to the standard tenancy contract. If he doesn't sign the new contract with us, can we evict him after the recent contract expires? LC, Dubai

The reality is that a standard tenancy contract automatically renews under the same terms and conditions as before, unless changes are agreed upon and communicated at least 90 days before the expiration of the contract.

Given the fact that you only transferred a few weeks ago, you have clearly missed the 90-day window, therefore the new contract cannot be altered. The same rental amount, the same number of cheques, the same everything will apply apart from you now being the landlord, so I'm not sure what the tenant is not in agreement with. Presumably it is the rent (as some rents have reduced down) but again this cannot be changed due to the 90-day rule. There can now be only two options;

1. The tenant moves out at the end of the tenancy or;

2. He files a case at the rental committee to force a reduction in rent assuming you do not agree with the reduction. In your case, you as landlord cannot force any action, it is up to the tenant to make the decision. He obviously cannot live there rent-free so either he agrees to something with your blessings or he moves out. You cannot force him out (unless he doesn't pay rent at all but that is another procedure …)

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