x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

'He's left and it's a nightmare'

Mohammed Al Sheikh, secretary general of Dubai Municipality rental committee, confirmed on Wednesday that they were aware of the scam.

DUBAI // Authorities are urging tenants who were swindled to register cases with the municipality’s rent committee and approach their local police station with any information.

But anxious residents say there is little clarity about which authorities they should approach, if they can continue to live in their apartments or whether they will ever get their money back from the man they knew as Sam.

“I was told by the rental committee of Dubai Municipality that to register a case against Sam I would have to pay 3 per cent of the value of my lease agreement,” said R?S, a tenant who did not want to be named.

“They also told me that if I lose the case, I lose the money. I have already lost so much money, how can I put in Dh3,000 more? The guy has left the country and I don’t know whether I will actually win the case. It is a nightmare.”

When he approached the committee for information and submitted his details, he was told that the case numbers in the Shamyana case were over 400.

Mohammed Al Sheikh, secretary general of Dubai Municipality rental committee, confirmed on Wednesday that they were aware of the scam.

Residents who approached the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) said they remained confused.

“All of us want to see him brought to justice but there doesn’t seem to be much interest in catching the guy,” said a tenant from The Greens, who did not want to be identified. “People have made statements but it’s not going anywhere.”

After reviewing 15 complaints it received so far, a Rera official said it only dealt with complaints against real estate agencies and could not deal with the scam because that Shamyana Entertainment was not a real estate firm but an event organising committee.

“Tenants are being advised to check out their dispute with the rental committee,” the official said.

“We found the company has no right to deal in real estate activity and the complainants have been advised to take legal action to protect their rights. Some landlords told us they knew the company was not a real estate company but the rent amounts were big and so they accepted his offer.”

He said the Shamyana file was with the investigation section of Rera and officials would be working with the Department of Economic Development to find out more about the company.

rtalwar@thenational.ae

pkannan@thenational.ae

* With reporting by Mohammed N Al Khan