x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Dewa tells Dubai renters to put their names on utility bills

The emirate's electricity and water authority has asked residents who rent their homes to ensure they have their own names on utility bills.

DUBAI // The emirate's electricity and water authority has asked residents who rent their homes to ensure they have their own names on utility bills.

The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) made the announcement following several property scams in the emirate that involved separate incidents of rogue agents and a fake landlord making off with rent cheques.

"As a renter, you are the owner of the Dewa account so you wouldn't want this vital service in somebody else's hand," said Abdullah Al Hajri, head of Dewa's customer service. "We recommend that tenants transfer Dewa accounts in their name to ensure they have the right over the service and to make sure it's a continuous service."

To better protect landlords and tenants in future, Yousef Al Hashmi, the director of the Real Estate Regulatory Authority's (Rera) licensing department, said changes to a 2003 law were being scrutinised by the Ruler's Office, the Land Department and the Rent Committee.

"But investors have to be careful because even if there are rules and regulations, if a person wants to cheat, in the end, he will try to cheat," he said.

"The problem is that recently some companies granted the activity of subleasing have misused their licence. This is nothing but cheating. There will be action if rules are not followed."

Mr Al Hashmi said residents should follow a Rera checklist that included confirming the owner's title deed and the property company's licence, registering contracts with Ejari and ensuring every company has the licence to carry out activities it says it can provide.

He also cautioned residents to be wary of rental deals lower than the market rate, saying this was often how tenants were lured in to the recent property scams.

rtalwar@thenational.ae