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As one of the UAE's smallest emirates, Ajman's real estate market is relatively slow moving compared to those of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. However, the consistent affordability of the emirate makes it a haven for those with lower budgets. This is why tenancy laws are becoming more and more important for those living in Ajman.
Tenancy laws now dictate that landlords can increase the rental prices only after an initial three-year period. During this time, the landlords must provide periodical maintenance to their units at their own cost, not at the cost of the tenants.
The increase should also not exceed 20 per cent and the landlords are not allowed to ask the tenants to vacate before their contracted period expires. If this happens, tenants can file a complaint against their landlords with the municipality. If a landlord is found to be illegally evicting his current tenants in order to secure a higher rental price from new tenants, he can be fined as much as Dh200,000.
The increasing demand for properties in Ajman allows the landlords to resort to a range of methods to evict their tenants, and charge higher rents from new ones. While there are restrictions put in place by the Ajman Municipality, there are still a few methods that are still technically legal. For instance, unless your tenancy agreement specifically states that the cost of a parking space is included in the rent, the landlord can always introduce an additional charge. He can increase the rent of the parking space as and when he pleases.
Others increase electricity rates, collect electricity rates in slabs with a minimum charge or even disconnect electricity supply when the hiked-up charges are not paid. Many have also refused to do maintenance work or have provided poor maintenance.
Some landlords sometimes change the terms on which the rent is paid, requesting the year's payment in full instead of installments in order to force the tenants to vacate.
To keep this from happening, it is important to protect yourself as a tenant by ensuring that these terms are clearly stipulated in your tenancy agreement, leaving little room for an unfair eviction down the line.
• Check the parking space inclusions in your tenancy agreement
• Secure a breakdown of electricity and utility charges each month
• Discuss the payment time frame when in doubt and put it in writing
Source: Nicholas Baker, Special to Properties
The writer is a freelancer