Ask The Expert - Who pays for excess space?

Mark Wellman RiggsMark Wellman Riggs

When my property was handed over, I found out that the actual size is less than what’s mentioned in the sales and purchase agreement. What should I do?

This is a common situation, given the large number of units that are bought offplan and the various factors that necessitate unit design to be altered in the construction process — for example compliance with changing health and safety regulations. Inevitably the unit’s size on handover will not be exactly as mentioned in a contract signed years earlier.

The Dubai Land Department (DLD) has addressed the issue in the form of Executive Council Resolution No. 6 of 2010. Article 13 of this law states that if a unit is bigger, you get the extra space for free, and if it’s smaller, you don’t have to pay for the space you’re not getting.

There is, sensibly, a tolerance margin of 5 per cent — so any variation of up to 5 per cent you have to live with. But a reduction beyond that threshold and you can avail of a discount.

However, you should note two things: the discount only applies to a decrease in size above 5 per cent — so if the unit is 7 per cent smaller you get a 2 per cent discount, not a 7 per cent discount. The law is subject to any contrary agreement the parties may have reached on the issue, so if your contract says that no discount will be applied if it’s smaller, or you will pay more if it’s bigger, then that’s what you must do.

What documents do I need to sell my property?

You will require a title deed on the property obtained through registration at the DLD. You will also need a no-objection certificate from the developer, confirming the property is free from liabilities such as outstanding mortgages or unpaid instalments or service fees. Your original passport would be required and any other documents and receipts pertaining to the original sale and current state of the property.

I have an existing lease and I want to leave before it expires. Can I give a three-month notice or have my friend take over the lease instead?

You will need to review your tenancy contract terms and see if there is any break clause provision for you to  request early termination. If this is not available, then you should contact your landlord about possible options to accommodate your request and see if he or she will accept.

The majority of residential lease contracts include a clause that disallows subletting. In the event it’s omitted from the lease and there is no approval in writing to allow you to sublease the property, then it would be deemed against the law for your friend to take over the lease.

My villa at Victory Heights was brand new when my first tenant moved in. The tenant is now leaving the property and is disputing damages deducted from the security  deposit for some cracked tiles. What should I do in such a case?

Landlords should request the tenant to sign an inventory and condition report that accepts the property and all its finishing in good condition at the start of a lease. A written report along with interior images will help support your claim for reimbursement. You can also have a snagging or inspection report that was issued and acknowledged by the developer that would highlight defects, especially considering this was the first tenant.

However, a signed acceptance of the property’s condition by a tenant should be sufficient to show damages occurring during the tenant’s occupancy.

I am looking to sell my home. What questions should I be asking the real estate agent I am considering appointing?

Homeowners need to feel comfortable that the agent they are appointing will do the best job for them and their property. You can enquire about the agent’s history of successful sales in that area and ask the agent to explain the marketing initiatives to be employed to sell your home. It is important to ask real estate agents for their broker’s number and a profile on the company they work for. An agreeable selling price needs to be established along with the motivation for the sale of the property and timelines that need to be observed. Ensure your appointed agency outlines all the costs associated with selling as well as its obligation and commitment to you as the property owner.

I have recently leased my property at the Greens through a real estate agency and my contract states I should complete the Ejari registration. How do I do this as a landlord?

It is compulsory to register all tenancy contracts for Dubai properties via If you are a landlord of multiple properties, you can apply for a training course, after which you will be provided with your own account and can access the central system from any location. The cost for each tenancy contract registration is Dh160. You can also appoint a real estate company with a management licence to complete this online registration process on your behalf.

The other method of registration is at a number of external Ejari offices located throughout Dubai. There is a Dh195 charge for all documentation pertaining to the property and the lease. 

I have just moved out of the property I leased. When can I expect my deposit to be refunded?

The date when a deposit should be refunded might be included in your tenancy terms. If it’s not, a reasonable time frame is expected.

Provided there are no delays due to obtaining quotations for any corrective works and all final utility bills have been paid, our guide would be within 7-15 days.



Source: Mark Wellman Riggs, Special to Property Weekly

The writer is General Manager of Crompton Partners.

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