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In the UAE, one of the most often discussed relationships is that of the landlord and the tenant. Most people here live in rental homes and as a tenant, it is important to understand what the terms and conditions of the tenancy contract entail.
A tenancy contract is absolute in itself. In Dubai, it is registered under the Ejari system. In Abu Dhabi, registrations are done via the Tawtheeq system.
Tenants planning to vacate their homes are usually advised to wait until renewal time to do so. In some cases, this is not possible, e.g. a new job offer that prompts urgent relocation. The ground rule for any tenant is to review the details of the contract and find the clause that mentions breaking the contract early. Otherwise, the tenant must negotiate with the landlord, giving him a two-month notice; however, the former must also expect a penalty that is equivalent to a two-month rent. If the tenant has paid the rent in single cheque, it is highly unlikely that the landlord will return the rest of the money.
Another aspect is the condition of the property at the time of moving out. The law says that the home has to be handed back to the owner in the same condition as when the tenant moved in. Tenants are expected to abide by this; otherwise, they cannot claim a refund of their security deposit, or get a lesser amount.
The security deposit is the amount charged by the landlord as a guarantee towards the property. It is usually equivalent to 5% of the annual rent. In the beginning, it has to be clarified whether the deposit is refundable or not. If the home is returned in the same condition, the tenant will not have any problem getting back the deposit. It would help to have some “before” pictures taken as proof. However, if the walls have been defaced by drilling or any other changes have been done, the landlord has the right to deduct a certain amount from the deposit as he deems necessary, or not refund it at all. Also, if any repair work that is beyond what is considered regular maintenance work has taken place, the same procedure applies.
Any tenant-landlord disputes that need third-party intervention may be filed at the Rental Committee.
• Tenants are advised to understand every tiny detail written in the contract
• Landlords have the right not to return the deposit as they deem necessary
• Landlord and tenant disputes can be submitted to the Rental Committee
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Source: Urmila Santosh, Special to Properties
The writer is a freelancer