Tenancy Issues - Ask the expert

My tenancy contract states “fair wear and tear” as a condition. What does this meanToby Young

* I have been told that the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) will charge me 3.5 per cent of my tenancy contract value to bring a case against my landlord to recover my deposit. Is this correct? It seems like a lot of money.

This was the case a number of years ago, but has now changed. Rera charges 3.5 per cent of the value of the dispute with a minimum of Dh500. Therefore, if it is a deposit you are disputing the chances are you will have to pay the minimum amount. In general, most cases involve the whole tenancy, whether eviction, or a change in the terms and conditions.

In that scenario the cost to bring the case would involve 3.5 per cent of the entire tenancy contract value. If you win your case, the losing party will be asked to pay the court fees, although this needs to be listed in any claim.

* Do I need to hire a lawyer or a legal advocate to represent me at Rera?

No. Although some people do, many file the documentation and represent themselves. Although Rera can feel like a daunting place, in general people are quite helpful and individuals can get their cases filed and documents translated while they are there.

Also, if going through the mediation process before a case gets to court, then it is often better to represent yourself. Mediation is not necessarily carried out in Arabic, and thus both parties can choose to speak in English, which also helps individuals get their case across and possibly get a resolution.

* I want to replace the grass in my garden with artificial grass. Is this allowed and will the landlord complain?

We see a lot of tenants opting to go down this road at the moment. Artificial grass is relatively cheap to install and requires minimal upkeep and is certainly lighter on the utility bill. To avoid any issues further down the line we would advise getting your landlord’s written consent via email. We always suggest via email to ensure that proof can be provided further down the line if needed.

* My tenancy contract states “fair wear and tear” as a condition. What does this mean?

This is common in tenancy contracts and means that a landlord will accept the property back with nicks and scratches. Essentially, it is understood that your rented property would have been lived in, and thus will not look like new once you leave.

The clause is often open to debate as to what is fair and what is not. In general, a line should be drawn between the Dh500 and Dh1,000 mark. That said, there are times where it may be easier to fix any small issues to ensure the quick return of a deposit.

* We only have one parking space allocated to us in our building, but have two cars. The car park is half empty. Canwejust use one of the other spaces?

Although we know a lot of people do this, we advise against it. There may be empty spaces, but they generally belong to someone else unless they are visitor parking. Visitor parking is generally monitored as short term, and the empty spaces may be required when you least expect it. If you park in someone else’s space, they then have to park elsewhere and so it goes on. We advise people to talk to security to seek permission to use an empty space.

If that is not possible we then suggest talking to building management to see if they know of an empty space you could use as a good-will gesture, or if there is space they could rent. Failing that it may be worth asking in the building if anyone has a spare parking space they are willing to let you use.

Source: Property Weekly

For Rent


View more properties

For Sale


View more properties