I have rented an apartment in Dubai from a real estate agency which was registered in Rera. According to the agents, the owner was not in Dubai so they had all the necessary papers, including the power of attorney (PoA) to rent out the apartment and have the cheques made out to the agency's name. My wife and I went to his office, met with him, saw all the papers and made the deal. We were given Ejari and Dewa in my name and were happy. Then after three months, I received a letter at my door, sent from the Dubai Courts, from my landlord. It was for the agency owner, claiming that he hasn't paid the second quarter rent – the cheque had bounced. I went to Rera and they said it has got nothing to do with me. Now I have received an eviction notice at my door, again in the real estate agent's name. I contacted the landlord directly and discovered that he was not even aware of my presence. But he wants me to leave the apartment, for which I have paid a year's rent and have Ejari for. I have also tried contacting the agency, but they were all gone. The office is closed and the phones are off. So, what do I do now? BBA, Dubai
You certainly have done nothing wrong and are an obvious victim of the same situation the landlord finds himself in. I assume that as you had met with the agency owner who had the PoA, you were able to make copies of all the necessary documents? As the eviction notice is in the name of the agency or agency owner, you should be able to defend yourself by producing the signed tenancy agreement, Ejari contract and hopefully copies of the PoA along with copies of the rental cheques paid to the landlord’s PoA. Given all this documentation, I am certain that any rental committee will allow you to stay on at the property, but you will obviously have to write further rental cheques, this time payable to the landlord directly. Believe it or not, this type of situation is actually quite common and although a bit late for you, the only advice I can give to anyone else is to always make sure that rental cheques are written only in the name of the owner (landlord) irrespective of whether there is a PoA or not. This way third parties cannot run away with the payment due as rent and the intended recipient of the money is not left out of pocket.
I gave my tenant a 90-day rent renewal notice with the same rent due, but my tenant told me he was not interested in staying in the property unless I lowered the rent. My rent was as per the Rera index, which is why I did not lower it. So I marketed the studio apartment and got a prospective tenant (for a little higher rent) and signed the agreement. Now suddenly the old tenant says he wants to stay in the property. How do I deal with this mess as I have taken the security deposit from my new tenant? Also, can the new tenant get a Dewa connection without the old tenant cancelling their connection and getting the final bill? I understand as per the new law in October 2015 Ejari contracts have to be cancelled upon expiry. Who is responsible for that and if the tenant is not co-operating, what is the course of action? VR, Dubai
Despite the original decision from the old tenant not to renew, which I presume was not given to you in writing but just verbally, he still has a right over the new “tenant” as legally he is still your current tenant until the contract is officially terminated. Despite the mess you find yourself in now, it is easier to cancel the new contract as it hasn’t actually started than to start proceedings to get the old tenant out. Simply explain to the new tenant that due to circumstances beyond your control, you cannot now proceed with the tenancy and give back all his monies. Your new tenant cannot get Dewa connected anyway without the previous tenant settling his “final” bill. Ejari contracts that are still active can only be cancelled by landlords.
Mario Volpi is a real estate professional who has worked within the industry for the past 31 years in London and Dubai. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and they do not reflect in any way those of the institutions to which he is affiliated. It does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only. Please send any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org