Reletting property to a new tenant

Entering a unit vacated by an absconding tenant could be illegal without obtaining court approvalMohanad Alwadiya

I think the tenant of my property has left the country without paying several month’s rent. What do I need to do to re-let the property to a new tenant?

If you have determined that the tenant has left the country, you will need to send him a 30 days official written notice for non-renewal/ payment of rent. As you are unlikely to receive a reply from your absent tenant, you should also file a case against him at the Rent Disputes Committee. It will hear your concern and help you to gain legal access to your property by sending a representative to open the property. (You will have to arrange and pay for any locksmith charges).

You must not enter the property prior to legal access being granted as you will be in violation of the law. This is an important point to note as many landlords feel that,  because they own the property, they have automatic right of entry. This is not the case when there is a current tenancy agreement in place.

The representative will make a schedule of belongings which have been left by the absconding tenant and you will have to store these at your cost for three months upon which time they can be auctioned and the revenues can be paid to cover your expenses and any shortfalls in compensation.

As soon as the apartment is ready for rent to a new tenant, you’ll have to settle any outstanding utilities and prepare it for re-renting. The case against the tenant will remain on file and, if he should return to the UAE, you can pursue him through legal channels and claim all your losses.

As always, we recommend you engage professionals to help you deal with recalcitrant tenants and any claims you may have against them.

I plan on investing in a property within the next four months to take advantage of the current lower prices. Can you advise on where I should invest?

There is no doubt that the affordable segment in Dubai is showing lots of promise as these properties will be in high demand as Dubai’s population growth gains  momentum on the back of a period of expected strong economic growth leading up to the end of the decade.

Properties located in nonprime areas such as Dubailand continue to do very well and represent great value at today’s prices. With the current market correction in full swing we have witnessed the more affordable or secondary areas of the market continue to provide superior total returns for investors.

Examples of affordable projects that are providing good rental returns and expected capital appreciation are the Skycourts project and the adjacent QPoint project. Apartments in Skycourts have proven to be very popular with tenants and investors alike and has historically seen excellent capital growth with some apartments growing by 20 to 25 per cent over the past 24 months with rental premiums of at least 7 per cent not uncommon. Purchasing an apartment at Skycourts has been made even been made more affordable with the developer offering units, some with existing and reliable tenants, with a very attractive easy payment plan.

QPoint, although recently released is also attracting rental yields of 6 per cent to 7 per cent. At the moment, apartments in Q Point are being valued between Dh685 -Dh750 per square foot, representing fantastic value for this new development.

Demand for this type of affordable accommodation will continue to grow as Dubai’s population swells in the run up to the Expo and the demand for well located affordable housing increases.

There is no doubt that real estate values have been declining for some time now. Has the market reached the bottom and do you think now is the time to buy?

If you are considering purchasing a property, there are definitely opportunities available and advantages to be gained from purchasing now. The market has been cooling for around a year now, but is expected to pick up again in 2016 as the next five years are expected to see strong economic growth in the Dubai. Picking the exact timing is always difficult but it is better to be early rather than late.

Start your property search immediately as a property investment requires the same approach and set of considerations regardless of the state of the market and proper due diligence can take time.

Know what you can afford. If you have the cash, I suggest you pay for it outright. However, don’t be afraid to take out a mortgage. Make sure that you consider the many and varied easy payment plans that are currently on offer as many of these plans will save you considerable amounts of money.

Think carefully about location, surrounding infrastructure, construction quality, and developer reputation and building amenities. Properties which are close to the beach, with a sea view, a golf course view or part of an iconic development such as Downtown usually provide good returns. If you have close access to the metro, even better.

You also need to consider the effectivity of the Owners Association, service charges and the quality of maintenance services as these will have an effect on the long term value of your investment. Finally, be purposeful, persistent, patient and pragmatic in your approach and you are well on the way to making a very sound decision.

Source: Property Weekly

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