The trials and tribulations of renting a property in Dubai

By following a few simple steps renting in Dubai can become a lot easier, writes Toby Young managing director of propertyrights.ae

Dubai is a great place; near year round sunshine, a relatively easy place to navigate and a clean place to live. There just seems to be one drawback, the trials and tribulations that people have when trying to rent a property, and some of the issues that arise after the property has been rented.

If you have lived in Dubai for more than three months you will know by now that everyone has their own story to tell. Whether it be rent increases or evictions, it is almost impossible not to hear or read daily stories about what can and can’t happen.

The property laws in Dubai are generally there to help both tenants and landlords, but the common misconceptions surrounding them tend to lead people into either panicking or making rash decisions. This needn’t be the case. By following a few simple steps people’s lives will become a lot easier, from moving in to a new property, to renewing an existing tenancy contract it shouldn’t be as hard as it often feels like it is.

To ensure you are not caught out when renting a property the following steps are key to moving in quickly and with as little stress as possible:

• Ensure you use a RERA Registered Real Estate Broker: https://www.dubailand.gov.ae/English/Pages/Brokers.aspx

• Check with the Real Estate Agent and Landlord that all outstanding bills have been paid – These include DEWA, and any possible Chiller costs. The government owned entities will not reconnect your property until there is no outstanding debt from previous tenants. If there is that has to be paid, and then an account in the new tenants name can be set up.

• Ensure you leave enough time for the property to be cleaned and any maintenance work to be carried out before you move in. This may mean checking the property once again prior to your move in date.

• Ensure you register for Ejari; this will legalise your tenancy contract with the Dubai government. While also enabling you to register for child or spousal visas. Your Real Estate Agent may do this for you, so it is worth checking.

A lot of the misconceptions come from outdated news stories that have been published and researched on the internet, as well as hearsay from friends and colleagues who are trying to help but only manage to confuse the issue further. The laws set out by RERA (Real Estate Regulatory Authority) are enforced by the RDSC (Real Estate Disputes Centre) are there for all to read, it just takes some time to get through them and understand the vagaries of the RERA Rent Calculator. Often when looking for this information it is not understood correctly as the panic of an impending rent increase or eviction sets in.

Over the years the laws have changed numerous times as Dubai has grown and developed. Sometimes the information that people pass on can be outdated. With that in mind the longer the current laws remain in place the more educated people are becoming. The law is there to protect both tenants and landlords and misunderstandings can occur if one side does not know their rights.
To ensure your rights are not infringed it is helpful to remember the following steps and be aware of exactly where you stand at all times.

• Keep your contract in a safe place for easy reference, with photocopies of all proof of payments.

• Any clause stating your contract is ‘non-renewable’ unless accompanied by a valid eviction notice is illegal.

• Familiarise yourself with the rental property laws.

• If in dispute, remain calm at all times. If lines of communication are closed there can be no resolution.

• Be prepared to prove that the law is on your side.

• Always remember that there are others that will have had similar problems.

• RERA is there for both landlords and tenants to help explain issues, as should be your Real Estate Agent.

In the event of a complete breakdown in communications it is always worth remembering that a tenant can renew their tenancy contract, and deposit their cheques with RERA/RDSC for the landlord to sign and collect. There is a fee to use this service, but it will ensure that you are legally residing in a property without facing the threat of eviction for non-payment of rent.

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