Homefront: ‘My landlord refuses to send his documents to register my lease with Ejari’

The tenant delayed her rent payments owing to the impact of Covid-19

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I have been renting an apartment since August 2020 and renewed the lease in August last year.

Although my rent payments were always delayed in 2020 due to the economic impact of Covid-19, I still managed to pay my landlord the full rent of Dh74,000. However, I did not find a chance to register my contract with Ejari. The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority account is in my landlord’s name although I paid for the deposit.

My landlord increased the rent to Dh80,000 without prior notice last year. However, I agreed to it because he suffered due to my payment delays.

I paid my first rent instalment of Dh20,000 in August last year. However, I could only pay Dh5,000 out of Dh20,000 due in the second rent instalment.

Despite having all relevant documents and rent cheques, my landlord is refusing to provide me with copies of his visa and Emirates ID in order to register the contract with Ejari.

He promised me that if I pay Dh5,000 out of the Dh20,000 due for the second rent instalment, he would send me his documents. Although I paid him Dh5,000, he asked me to wait until my next rent cheque due date to register my contract with Ejari.

Can you explain what course of action I can take? MC, Dubai

Your situation is very frustrating but not an uncommon one. It is clear from your description that the landlord has had enough of the delayed payments and is merely trying to protect his income.

I always advocate a face-to-face meeting to explain why your [rent] payments were delayed
Mario Volpi, sales and leasing manager, Engel & Volkers

There is little you can do to force him other than to try to reach a compromise. I always advocate a face-to-face meeting to explain why your payments were delayed.

He is upset and using this to his advantage. Genuine situations can often cause problems and you need to try to reach out to his compassionate side to find a solution the the issue.

If this does not work, you can file a case with the Rental Dispute Settlement Committee. All tenancy contracts need to be registered with Ejari, so if he insists on continuing to block your path, you may not have an alternative but to approach the committee.

Lastly, you could try speaking to a representative at a Customer Happiness Centre to see if any alternative options are available to register the Ejari with your existing documents.

I recently vacated a rental unit and the lease ended on January 9. Although I physically moved out of the premises on January 3 and was scheduled to hand over the apartment keys to the landlord by January 9, there was a delay because a utility provider did not issue the cancellation notice and final bill on time.

The delay was caused from the service provider’s end because of a system glitch and, as a result, I could only hand over the keys to the landlord 10 days after the contract expired.

Will I be charged rent on a pro-rata basis for the period after the end of the lease? Can I dispute this because it was not my fault? Will this amount be deducted from my security deposit?

Also, are we required to paint the apartment when we hand it over to the landlord? Or will this cost be deducted from the deposit as well? Please advise. MM, Dubai

I presume you would have communicated the delay in handover due to the utility company’s system glitch to your landlord at the time.

Even though the delay was neither intentional nor your fault, the responsibility to hand back the property to the landlord on the due date still remains with the tenant. So, I suspect that you may still be charged the extra rent on a pro-rata basis.

Whether you can dispute or challenge this depends on your business relationship with the landlord. If you have a cordial rapport, you are more likely to reach an acceptable solution to this issue.

Depending on the amount and if you are in agreement, the deposit could be used for this payment, but generally it should only be used to repair any items that you may have damaged during your tenancy.

In answer to your last point, a tenant is obliged to return the property in the same condition as it was provided to them at the start of the tenancy.

Mario Volpi is the sales and leasing manager at Engel & Volkers. He has worked in the property sector for more than 35 years in London and Dubai. The opinions expressed do not constitute legal advice and are provided for information only. Please send any questions to mario.volpi@engelvoelkers.com

Updated: February 03, 2022, 4:16 AM