Abu Dhabi resident buys apartment but told defects won’t be fixed on handover

Keren Bobker advises an investor who is querying his rights after finding cracked walls and damage in the apartment - but after handover.

Keren Bobker advises on the handover of an apartment in Abu Dhabi.  Delores Johnson / The National
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I recently bought an apartment in Abu Dhabi from the original owner and the completion took place at the end of October when we finished the transfer of ownership at the developer’s offices. After all the documents were signed, the keys were finally turned over to us by the previous owner and the next day we checked our newly bought apartment for inspection. To our dismay, we noticed several defects/substandard finishing that requires fixing, including cracks in the wall, uneven grouting and damaged fixtures in the bathroom. We asked the designated property management for the development to resolve all these issues prior to our moving in. We also asked them to provide us the “snag list” document from the previous owner, as we feel that they did not really resolve the issues from the previous snag list. We have been told that they cannot assist as the original owner signed the previous snag list and we do not have the right to request the problems be fixed. Do we have any rights here? JL, Abu Dhabi

As JL is not the original owner, he has little comeback with the developer unless some kind of warranty applies, which I don’t believe is the case here. The apartment should have been inspected prior to completion as it is effectively “sold as seen” and any responsibility of the developer is usually to the initial owner and not to any subsequent purchaser. If the previous owner signed and accepted the snagging list they have absolved the developer from doing any further work, although I understand the developer has agreed to reglaze the bath as their workman have caused some recent damage. Ideally these issues should have been raised and agreed before completion and having seen photographs it seems unusual that the original owner did not address some very obvious problems, but anything else the developer agrees to do now will be as a gesture of goodwill.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with over 20 years of experience. Contact her at keren@holbornassets.com Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only. Readers are encouraged to seek appropriate independent legal advice


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