Question: My landlord sent me a 12-month eviction notice stating that he plans to sell the property and asked me to vacate it in December.
I believe he wants to evict me and re-rent the property at a higher rent since my lease is for a relatively low amount.
Is there any proof I can demand before I vacate the property or can I move out and then submit a complaint?
Also, there was a leak in an underground pipe, which increased my water consumption and bill. Is the landlord liable to refund the additional cost of my average water consumption? DF, Dubai
Answer: First, if a landlord is evicting you for the reason of sale, this is a perfectly acceptable course of action as long as all the necessary protocols have been followed. However, there are a few points to consider.
If the new owner is an investor, this person will have to continue with your existing agreement in its entirety until its expiry, maintaining the same terms and conditions as before.
Any changes to the contract going forward would have to be communicated in writing and agreed upon 90 days before the expiration of the lease.
If the buyer is an end-user or wants to move in themselves, it has been shown that some judges at the Rental Dispute Settlement Committee (RDSC) request them to send their own 12-month notification to evict the tenant.
Please note that this is merely a guide and is not set in stone because it depends on the circumstances at the given time.
Presumably, you will be involved when viewings of the property take place, so it is important that clear communication between yourself and the owner, or agent, takes place to understand the status of the sale.
If you vacate the property and subsequently find out that the owner has re-let it, you can file a complaint at the RDSC. If you win the case, you will be entitled to compensation, which often amounts to the value of the yearly rent.
With reference to your second point, this situation is not as clear-cut to answer. Ultimately, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority is responsible, but getting them to compensate you will be virtually impossible.
So, unless either you or the owner have some form of insurance to cover this eventuality, the answer lies with negotiating with your landlord to come to some form of mutual agreement over the extra expense you have incurred.
If nothing can be agreed, this will unfortunately become an expensive charge you have had to face.
Q: I plan to buy a studio apartment from the secondary market. The seller hasn’t settled his loan and still owes 90 per cent to his bank, therefore the title deed is not in his name.
The real estate broker who represents him has asked me to settle the loan so that the bank will issue him with the title deed.
After that, the agent suggested that we can go to Dubai Land Department trustee office and register the title deed in my name. This information will be mentioned in the form (F) addendum.
Is it OK to trust the agent about the authenticity of the agreement? What can I do if the seller finds another buyer who is willing to pay a higher price and backs out from my agreement? AK, Dubai
A: Selling a property is a secure and relatively straightforward process. All the terms and conditions are laid out to protect both the buyer and the seller.
The sales contract is known as form F and it can only be produced by a Real Estate Regulatory Agency-certified broker through the Dubai Rest application, which is the DLD trusted service.
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The seller, therefore, cannot back out without repercussions after form F has been accepted by all parties.
Before you proceed to pay off the seller’s loan, go to the trustee office with the seller and do what is known as “blocking”; this is when the DLD blocks the property from any future sale.
This is done so that you can go ahead with confidence to the seller’s bank and pay off the loan agreement.
Once the clearance letter is issued by the bank to confirm that there is no longer any outstanding amount, both parties return to the trustee office to conclude the transfer, when the property will be registered in your name.
Mario Volpi is the sales director at AX Capital. He has worked in the property sector for 39 years, in London and Dubai. The opinions expressed do not constitute legal advice and are provided for information only. Please send any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org