Ask the Agent - What would be the law related to vacating an office?

What would be the law related to vacating an office?Emma Stephens

- Are foreign investors entitled to a residence visa if they buy a property in Dubai?

To be entitled to a residence visa, the investor must own a property with a minimum value of Dh1 million and show a regular income equivalent to Dh10,000 a month. The income must be verifiable and can come from within the UAE or abroad. The property must be in a habitable state and the investor must have proper health insurance in line with the new visa regulations. The visas are given on either a six-month or two-year renewable basis depending on the circumstances. Because property-related visas are considered a type of visit visa, neither the principal holder nor the dependents are permitted to work. In Dubai, it is also possible to get a two-year visa related to property ownership, but this comes with stricter regulations. The individual must own the property without a mortgage and the property must be fully habitable and worth in excess of Dh1 million.

- Why would I go to a broker when I can always go directly to a developer?

Going to a broker provides you a one-stop shop for all the developers. A good broker/brokerage firm will have a range of projects from various developers. As a property expert, he will be in the best position to advise you on which property suits your needs. In most cases, using a broker will not cost you anything as brokers claim their commissions directly from the developer. You will be at an advantage from getting a professional consultant to disseminate relevant information for each option to you. Then you will be in a position to make an informed decision. A real estate agent's full-time job is to act as a liaison between buyers and developers/sellers. He has easy access to all properties listed in the market. For example, if you want to buy a property, an agent will track down the properties that meet your criteria, get in touch with the developers or sellers and make appointments for you to visit the showroom or property. If you buy on your own, you have to play the telephone tag yourself.

- There seems to be many attractive payment plans for off-plan projects. When can we expect to see the same for ready properties?

There are currently many off-plan projects that offer attractive payment plans which incorporate a post-handover payment structure. These have proven to be very popular. At this point, ready properties are not generally being offered on a payment plan. However, there are some examples in the market, one of which is in Dubai Sports City. It is ready to move in with a payment plan for both finance and cash buyers. Cash buyers can pay 20% of the value and take immediate possession; the outstanding amount is payable at 2% a month for 40 months. Finance buyers only pay 7% instead of the usual 25% payment to move in, in conjunction with the 75% loan they receive from the bank. The remaining 18% is paid in 6% installments after 12, 24 and 36 months, respectively.

- I have rented my place through a broker. If I have concerns, do I contact the broker or the landlord?

If the property is managed by a real estate company, you would contact the broker who will put you in touch with the relevant person in their property management department. If the property is not managed, you should contact your landlord directly. In the market, you get very good, attentive landlords and on the other end, awful, uncommunicative ones. Likewise, tenants can be responsible and treat the property respectfully as if it is their own, or they can be a nightmare who are either over demanding or silently neglect the property. We always advise landlords to use a property management firm and that tenants should request the property to be managed. When the property is managed by a professional body, landlords can feel secure that their property is being properly cared for and maintained well. In return, tenants can feel secure that any maintenance issues with the property will be dealt with in a timely and convenient manner.

- Question of the Week: I wish to know the law related to vacating an office rented for the last two years. What would be the required notice period and valid reasons for vacating?

The same law applies to both commercial and residential properties when it comes to serving notice to tenants.

The law is very clear on eviction and does not allow a tenant to be removed simply because the landlord wants to lease the property out for a higher rental income.

Landlords have grounds for notice to their tenants if (1) they or a next of kin wants to move in, (2) if they want to sell the property, or (3) if the property requires extensive renovation or demolition. In the case of next of kin, a landlord must prove there is no other option available. In the case of the landlord stating they wish to move into the property, if they don't, they cannot re-lease the property for two years, and the tenant has the right to file a case at the Rental Committee.

As per the law, the landlord must notify the tenant with reasons for eviction at least 12 months before the determined date of eviction. The notice must be sent through a notary public or by registered mail.

Failure of the landlord to do this means the tenant is entitled to stay in the property until the appropriate eviction notice is sent and the notice period is served.

Source: Emma Stephens, Special to Freehold

The writer is Sales Manager - Candour Real Estate

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