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Question of the Week
If I am mortgaging a property from the bank, can I register the property under my wife’s name or it has to be registered as joint-ownership?
The form of ownership for married couples, family members or even business partners which works well here in the UAE is making sure that the property is registered under a joint ownership only.
The registration process is simple and as easy as registering an individual ownership except that there are two people involved. If something needs to be decided with regard to the property, there are two people to coordinate with rather than one.
On the downside, there are certain problems and uncertainties concerning inheritance and tax on jointly held assets and real estate properties in Dubai. The issue of inheritance is further complicated as real property purchased in joint names will not normally vest in the surviving owner, under UAE law.
Many expatriates should note that inheritance laws in Dubai are not as straightforward unlike with many Western countries where property is passed on automatically to the surviving spouse.
Unlike other jurisdictions, the UAE does not practice ‘right of survivorship’, which is, as would be the case in Commonwealth jurisdictions, the passing on any real estate property to the surviving spouse or joint owner upon death of the other. It is still the local courts that will make the final decision.
I am renting an apartment in Marina, till what degree am I liable for the wear and tear in it?
Take a look at the contract to see what specific requirements, if any, the landlord requires upon move-out. If some repairs are necessary, he can probably charge for a touch-up or repainting the entire property depending on the condition. Any damage to the floor may or may not be considered as normal wear and tear.
General wear and tear may include holes left from curtains, pictures, and television on walls. Most landlords will take a small amount of deposit from the tenant to restore the property to its original condition, unless the tenant restores it before vacating.
The tenants are always advised to do a snagging inspection, fill out a checklist, and take photographs to have a clear evidence of the condition of an apartment before moving in. The landlord withholds the security deposit to secure the performance of a rental agreement for residential premises or any part thereof.
I am moving into a new home and the final DEWA bill of that apartment is not yet generated, the previous tenant is out of country. What is the best possible option for me?
The previous tenant should have finalised their outstanding DEWA bill before leaving so that the next tenant is able to connect their utilities.
The landlord must verify the payment before returning the security deposit cheques to the previous tenant. If not. it is the landlord’s responsibility to cover all outstanding charges before handing over the property to a new tenant.
You may also opt to pay and get a reimbursement from the landlord. However, prior to making the outstanding payment, you should seek approval from the landlord in writing. In case the amount is higher, then the landlord may pay from his end or sort this out with his old tenant and resolve the matter at the earliest.
We advise tenants to always meet with the landlord before signing any cheques or contracts.
I am renting an apartment at a higher price than the RERA Rental Index. Would my next year rent be automatically decreased or do I have to talk with the landlord about it?
It is mandatory for the landlords to follow the rent index. We advise you to talk and negotiate with your landlord if the rent is higher than the rental index of Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) in Dubai; however, the rent cannot be increased for the first two years of the tenancy starting date. This is applicable for all residential properties in the emirate.
Moreover, RERA has applied the highest standards of transparency to function the market by exercising the best control on transactions and regulating interactions between investors and real estate agents.
In Dubai, landlords can increase the rent after one year completion. However, it has to be as per the RERA norms. If the landlord is going to increase the rent, he has to legally notify the tenant via Notary Public. This notice has to reach the tenant at least 90 days before completion of the contract. If this has not happened, the landlord cannot increase the rent.
There is another vacant apartment in the same building where I live and under the same landlord. Would I be allowed to transfer without extra commission and other costs?
If your apartment needs have changed but would like to stay in the same building, then transferring to a different unit may be the perfect answer.
It all depends on a case-by-case basis and based on the relation between the landlord and tenant. In short, it is purely at the landlord’s preference.
This would be very much on the landlord decision, and what has been agreed in the current lease contract. If the landlord agrees, then moving to the vacant property at the same cost is not a big deal. Since the dealing is directly with the landlord, no commission is needed to pay. However, you will still have to pay the costs of setting up new DEWA and internet account and chiller (if appropriate). You would still also have to make sure that any outstanding amount was cleared on the current property before moving.
Source: Sara Allison, Special to Freehold
Property Consultant, SPF Realty