Finding a good place in Dubai that you can call home is something you’re entitled to; after a hard day’s work, you want nothing more than to kick off your shoes, fire up your favorite tune and blissfully unwind. And when you do find a great place to live in, disagreements with your landlord can arise at a moment’s notice.
Nipping problems in the bud is the best remedy and here’s what you can do to remain on your landlord’s good side:
On Security Deposits
A common scenario is when the two of you don’t see eye to eye on what defines “normal wear and tear” or what state is acceptable to the landlord when the property is handed back. This may lead to disputes over what security deposit you are entitled to.
Apart from being well-informed on Dubai rental law, make sure you sit down beforehand and discuss with your agent so as to what exactly is defined as acceptable wear and tear, and under what circumstances some of the security deposit will either be deducted or not refunded at all. All these terms and conditions must be defined in the lease agreement.
Acceptable Condition of Premises When Returned
Elaborating more on the previous point, it must be discussed in a clear and transparent manner so as to what services/repairs are to be born by the landlord and what is expected of the tenant. In addition to being discussed and agreed upon verbally, all of this needs to be put down in the contract.
Naturally, if there is a force not under your control such as a building fire breaking out, that is the landlord’s responsibility to repair and he/she will most likely have insurance for that as well. In addition, it’s always a good idea to have your own personal belongings insured.
Have a clause added in the agreement so as to who is responsible for fixing what. The landlord may have already gotten this done through their agent, so sit down with yours and review it carefully. In most cases (and considered a best practice), tenants are responsible for “regular wear and tear” items up to AED 500. The landlord must bear costs exceeding this amount.
Get Ambiguities Out of the Way
Some terms in the agreement may not be completely clear and require additional definition – for example terms and conditions revolving around the security deposit and what’s considered “normal wear and tear” of the property. Other aspects may include when the rent will be increased and by how much.
After reading agreements, make it a habit to discuss with your agent if there are any possible ambiguities in it, any hidden surprises you may encounter down the road. If things are not clearly defined around certain clauses, circle them with a pencil and ask your agent and the landlord to offer additional clarification and have additional information added to eliminate any confusion at all.
Read the Rental Agreement, Then Read Again
Discuss each and ever detail in the agreement with your agent, as some clauses can sound complicated or unclear for that matter. As a basic rule of thumb, both the tenant and landlord must see to it that the terms they are shaking on are completely agreeable and that there’s no room for conflict in the foreseeable future. Experienced and highly motivated Dubai real estate agents always go the extra mile to make sure their clients have a good grasp on all the agreement clauses and are satisfied with them 100%.
For your convenience and security, consider adding a clause if you wish to exit the agreement before it expires. This is something not governed by Dubai rent law so it’s up to you to specify under what conditions the premises can be vacated before rental lease expiration. Tenancy contracts are usually annual and if you want to vacate before that, you must pay a 2-month rent penalty to the landlord. This is considered a “best practice” rather than something that’s dictated by Dubai rent law.
Similarly, should landlords want their premises vacated before the annual lease expires, they must serve you a 12-month notice according to the law only if any of these conditions are true. This 12-month notice must be notarized by Dubai Courts or sent via registered mail with signature upon acceptance.
On Rental Increase
You certainly don’t want to be changing homes every two years as you’ve come to enjoy your accommodation and have a right to continue enjoying this privilege. Unplanned or sudden rental hikes have forced out many tenants who have little choice but to look for more affordable housing.
All of this must be discussed well ahead of signing the contract – whether the terms are going to be flexible or not, what forms the basis of rental increases and the date when these increases will take effect. You need to be up to date with the latest Dubai tenant laws and understand how rental increases generally work.
As far as Dubai is concerned, even if you’ve agreed upon certain rental increase terms in the tenancy agreement, rent law “overwrites” those specific clauses in the agreement. So make sure terms/clauses revolving around rent increase are in line with Dubai rent law.
Communicate All Concerns without Delays
Communicating in a transparent manner is key to eradicating issues before they even arise and throughout the lease agreement period, if any concerns arise, you must discuss them immediately with your landlord and real estate agent. If anything gets damaged, whether you’re responsible or not, report it to the landlord at your earliest. Similarly if landlords want to update the terms in the agreement, they should bring it to their tenant’s notice right away.
Choose a reliable agent who is able to communicate well with not just you but your landlord’s agent as well. Without proper communication, many issues can go unnoticed and compound over the months, eventually leading to unpleasant situations.
If you’ve exhausted all resources at your disposal and still find yourself in the middle of a Dubai rental dispute, it is time to check out profiles of some of the top real estate companies in Dubai who can help you mitigate the problem and ensure you do not land in the same compromising spot again.