UAE property: ‘How can I report agents who promote fake listings?’

Prospective tenants must find out if the broker they are dealing with is registered and the details of their employer

Brokers in Sharjah have to follow rules set out by the emirate's Real Estate Registration Department. Alamy
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After browsing through listings on a UAE property portal for apartments in Sharjah, I visited buildings on the Dubai-Sharjah border and in Rolla.

I met two different agents who seemed to be trustworthy. After informing me about the different apartments available for rent in those areas, they demanded that I pay them their commission fee.

I decided to wait for a few days before paying them the commission because they refused to provide me with the names and contact information of the companies they work for.

When I called the real estate companies, I found that no apartments were vacant in the buildings cited by the two agents I met. How can I report such malpractice and cheating by agents? SN, Sharjah

Sharjah has its own rules and regulations when it comes to property and brokers have to follow these rules set out by the Sharjah Real Estate Registration Department.

Anybody who works in real estate in the emirate of Sharjah has to be registered to do so. You can check a broker’s registration on the Sharjah government website and browse through the list for details of their employer.

If you wish to report malpractices from Sharjah brokers, visit the registration office in person in Al Layyeh, opposite Flag Island, or call them on 06 512 4444.

My husband, who I am about to divorce soon, plans to end the tenancy contract for the property where my daughter and I currently stay. However, he has not informed me in person about this decision yet.

What are the steps I can take to prevent him from cancelling the tenancy contract? An arbitrary contract cancellation would inconvenience my daughter since her school bus picks her up from this property.

Although my husband has money to pay the rent, he is refusing to do so any more due to our domestic issues. PS, Dubai

I presume the tenancy contract is currently in your husband’s name, which is why he might be able to cancel the contract with the landlord.

I am not qualified to advise on legal family matters but what you could do is discuss the possibility of having your name added to the agreement and removing your husband’s.

I would imagine that despite whatever is going on, your daughter’s well-being is a priority. So, I am sure your husband won’t mind making this change, which allows you to stay in the property.

He will still have the financial responsibility to look after his family, so you can still ask him to pay the rent even if he does not live at the property.

Going forward, I would suggest that you take legal advice about the family side of things, but replacing your husband’s name with yours on the tenancy agreement will give you a say in your living arrangements and some comfort going forward.

Our landlord evicted us after serving us 12 months’ notice, which mentioned that he planned to sell the property. We vacated the property on April 30, at the end of the notice period.

We later found that he has since listed the unit for rent on portals. We called the Real Estate Regulatory Agency, who said we could report the matter to the Rent Dispute Settlement Centre and pay 3.5 per cent of the annual rent to open a case.

Do you think it is worth opening a case? What kind of compensation can we claim? If the compensation is less than the 3.5 per cent fee, we do not want to pursue it. CA, Dubai

You are allowed to claim for compensation due to being wrongfully evicted in the first place. In most scenarios, the party that wins the case is also offered compensation.

This could include moving costs, certain fees and, in some cases, the cost of the yearly rent itself.

The actual compensation amount will only be determined by the presiding judge at the time of the hearing and depends on your specific case.

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: July 07, 2022, 4:00 AM
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