Can tenant take artificial grass and swimming pool when leaving Dubai villa?

New owner is concerned that the tenant has the right to remove items from the property. Mario Volpi advises.

The new owner of a villa in The Springs is concerned about tenants being able to remove items such as a swimming pool on eviction. Jeff Topping/ The National
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I bought a villa in The Springs in May 2014. I have asked the tenant to move out and she has advised me she will be taking the artificial grass and portable swimming pool with her. I bought this villa having seen the nice garden and it forms part of my valuation report. Does the tenant have the right to remove these items at the end of her tenancy? As Article 23 0f law 26 of 2007 states: “The tenant shall not, upon eviction leaving the premises, remove any fixed improvements unless agreed otherwise by both parties.” Does this clause include items like artificial grass and a removable pool? From the valuation report you can clearly see that the pool is not an item that has just been placed in the garden, a hole has been dug for this to be put in. I am worried I will receive the property back with a hole where the pool was and sand where the grass was. MR, Dubai

The first thing to consider is, if there is no provision in the MoU about these items remaining in the garden, then I would check with the seller if he has an agreement with the tenant about them being removed. If he does not have an agreement, then as per the law the tenant has to leave the items. You are right about the law so please check with the seller first. If he does have an agreement then he should have informed you that these items would be removed. If he said nothing, the seller should ensure these items remain but if this is not possible, then he should at the very least be compensating you for their removal as I guess your offer was based on the fact that they were included. While I am quoting the law, which states that the tenants are not allowed to remove fixed improvements unless otherwise agreed, you also have to accept that the tenant personally bought these items so it is natural for them to think they can take them away. Ultimately I believe the argument is: what constitutes “fixed” items?

I’m a British national currently living in the UK and I’m planning to find a job in the UAE – in Dubai, Sharjah or Abu Dhabi – and move there by next year. When I arrive in the UAE, will I be able to rent an apartment as a tourist until I find a job? And if I am able to, am I restricted to Dubai or can I live in other emirates as well? I’d like to do this because then I could attend in-person interviews and get a taste of living in UAE. WH, UK

Unfortunately you cannot rent an apartment long term because this can only be done if you are in possession of a residence visa. Your options, while limited, are better than just living in a hotel. There are apartments that can be rented on a short-term basis which do not require a residence visa. These are fully furnished and come in all shapes and sizes. Renting rooms within apartments is also another way of securing cheaper accommodation; make sure you are renting directly from the landlord though as subletting is not allowed.

Earlier this year, I rented an apartment in JLT on the agreement that I pay to the owner in four cheques. The rental amount agreed was higher than what I would have paid in one cheque. Now my lease will expire in January and I was wondering if the owner can ask me for the entire rent in one cheque. I am already on the higher edge of the Rera rental index. AA, Dubai

Any changes to the contract have to be communicated by either party to the other by giving at least 90 days’ notice before the expiration of the contract. These changes can mean any terms and conditions, rental amount and of course the number of cheques. Even if your landlord does inform you of those changes in the given time, you have to be in agreement (other than the rent). If you don’t agree, then either take it further, make a claim to the rental committee or move out.

Mario Volpi is the managing director of Prestige Real Estate in Dubai (prestigedubai.com). He has 30 years of property industry experience in the emirate and London. Send any questions to mario@prestigedubai.com

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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