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Renters would love to skip paying the refundable security deposit because it is heavy on the pocket especially if one is on a tight budget. Nevertheless, tenants need to pay the landlord the deposit as Article 20, Law No. 26 of 2007 states. The deposit is also mentioned in the tenancy contract and paid upon signing it.
Usually, the deposit is returned when the tenant vacates the premises and if the landlord is certain that his property is in good condition foregoing the normal wear and tear, e.g. small scratches. However, if the landlord finds serious damages to the furniture, walls and carpets, and negligence, the entire deposit can be used for repair or for any unpaid rent, or the landlord can deduct some amount from it for the same.
Recently, several tenants have reported that landlords do not return their full deposits despite handing over the property in good condition. In fact, tenants have been demanding for stricter laws in regulating the refund of security deposits as some landlords either do not return the deposit or charge an unreasonable amount from it.
In contrast, landlords feel that not all tenants are the same. Some leave the premises without the necessary repair work, while others leave without paying the last DEWA bill. Landlords then have to bear the expenses; thus, they deduct a certain amount from the deposit.
To protect one’s rights, tenants could have the property repaired to claim the full deposit; refer repair services to the landlord, allowing him to deduct a certain amount from the deposit; have a signed agreement on the systematic move-in and move-out inspection with the landlord which gives clarity on the amount to fix the damages; include a damage policy in the lease agreement where damages and normal wear and tear with examples are clearly defined; have a clause in the lease that if the ownership changes in due course, the new (or old) owner would return the deposit.
As a last resort, the tenant and the landlord can always approach the Rental Committee in case of disputes.
• The UAE law mandates tenants to pay security deposits along with rents
• Move-in and move-out inspections can protect both tenants and landlords
• Tenants and landlords can approach the Rental Committee for any disputes
Source: Arva Shikari, Special to Properties
The writer is a freelancer