UAE property: 'Can I park bicycles in my flat's assigned car space?'

The Abu Dhabi tenant has been told by the property's management team to remove the bikes

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, January 8, 2017:    A woman rides her bicycle past the Presidential Palace in the Al Marina area of Abu Dhabi on January 8, 2017. Christopher Pike / The National

Job ID: 
Reporter:  N/A
Section: News
Keywords:  *** Local Caption ***  CP0108-na-stand alone01.JPG
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

I have lived in my apartment for five years and have a parking space that I rarely use. Sometimes, I have a car there but not always, unless a friend is staying over or I rent one.

However, I have two bicycles that I park in the space, which are against the wall and out of the way. I use one for work and the other is always in my parking area.

Three representatives from the landlord's leasing agency came to my door recently and gave me a letter advising me to remove items in corridors, the stairways and car park area.

Mohammed bin Rashid on new bike path — in pictures

I followed this up with a call to the landlord's letting agency and they told me to move the bikes from my car space or they would be removed.

Can they remove the bikes from my designated parking area? SC, Abu Dhabi

You pose a very interesting dilemma and one that I believe is born out of a misunderstanding (at best) with the building's management.

It is true that for many building managers, tenants or owners do clog up common areas with items such as bikes, strollers and shoe racks — often outside the front of an apartment.

They do cause an obstruction and could potentially delay evacuation during an emergency, such as a fire.

However, your dilemma is totally different and that is why I believe the notice sent to you has been done in error.

It is clear to me that you can demonstrate that your unit/apartment comes with the designated parking bay and, while it is obviously meant for a car, other vehicles can also be “stored” there.

You are quite within your rights to park your bicycles in your parking space if you choose to do so, as leaving them there does not constitute any form of obstruction.

If the building management insists on their removal, you could refrain from leaning them up against the wall to avoid damaging any of the common walls by potentially scratching the paintwork.

I would suggest a polite reply explaining what your mode of transport to work is and, therefore, your need to park your bikes in your space, which is your right given that you pay rent and the apartment comes with a parking space.

If the management insists that the bikes are unattractive and spoil the look, perhaps you can remind them what a parking space is for (other than for a car). It seems ridiculous to me that they would trouble themselves over such a triviality.

To help your cause, I would also enlist the landlord's endorsement for you to use the space for your bikes.

Alternatively, should you wish to monetise the parking space, you can always sublease the space with the permission of the landlord to another car owner and use any racks the management may provide to store your bicycles.

I currently pay Dh140,000 ($38,121) a year in rent and the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) Index is showing a 10 per cent increase for renewal.

My landlord initially proposed to raise the rent to Dh200,000 a year and I said we should abide with the Rera Index.

The landlord then claimed that index had not been updated and got a rental valuation certificate from the Dubai Land Department (DLD) showing a rental value of Dh225,000 a year.

She is insisting that this value is the new rent.

Am I within my legal rights to argue that 20 per cent is still the applicable maximum if we go to the Rental Dispute Settlement Committee (RDSC)?

Or does the valuation certificate supersede the Rera Index? There is very ambiguous information regarding this topic and the DLD is not providing clear information. HE, Dubai

Dubai property apartment prices — November 2022

The DLD offers this extra rental valuation service but I am not certain as to its effectiveness in court at this moment in time.

My reason for this is that if a case is filed at the RDSC, any decision is always up to the presiding judge of the day.

I also understand that the rental valuation certificate may be based on a vacant possession price.

You are, therefore, quite within your right to stick to what the Rera rental calculator states is the permissible allowed increase.

However, I would like to raise a couple of points that are worth considering.

Quote
Over the past 12 to 18 months, rents have been rising rapidly but the Rera Index has not kept pace with the market
Mario Volpi

Firstly, any changes to a rental contract renewal can only take place if they are communicated 90 days before the expiration of the contract.

If the landlord didn’t notify you within this time frame, according to the law, no changes can be made to the renewal contract.

The second point is to understand the current rental market and to be seen as a reasonable person.

Over the past 12 to 18 months, rents have been rising rapidly but the Rera Index has not kept pace with the market and is now showing a big gap between the open market and vacant possession rents.

With this in mind, I urge you to find a compromise that will appease the landlord.

Sticking to what the Rera calculator states is your right but can often alienate you and potentially sour your relationship with the landlord.

It could be a good idea to try to compromise and perhaps meet somewhere in the middle by potentially going above the permissible increase of the Rera calculator.

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: December 01, 2022, 4:00 AM
NEWSLETTERS