Homefront: Can I address my rent cheques to the landlord’s power of attorney?’

A Dubai tenant is wary of writing cheques in the name of an individual, rather than a property management company

Durable power of attorney documents
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I am interested in renting an apartment, in which a power of attorney claims to work for a property management company and represents an individual. Can I address the rent cheques to him?

I checked out the regulations governing powers of attorney on the Dubai Land Department website. However, I'm hesitant to address the cheques to an individual and not a property management company. Please advise me on what due diligence I should do before writing out the cheques. Is this legal? I read an article written in 2015 that said a fine could be issued to anyone who doesn't address rental cheques to the owner. TU, Dubai

It is quite normal for landlords and sellers to use a powers of attorney when dealing with sales and rentals of their properties in the UAE, as often the owners of these properties reside abroad. It also makes it easier for a tenant to deal with the day-to-day management of a property when the person concerned in authority is here in the country.

In your case, I suspect that the power of attorney works for a property management company, which happens to be a coincidence. But I understand you preferring to pay a company rather than an individual.

In terms of the due diligence, you have already checked out the validity of the power of attorney from the Dubai Land Department website. However, I would recommend you also check the expiry date as a power of attorney is normally only valid for a period of two years.

If the power of attorney document states that the holder can receive the rent/sale proceeds in his/her name, it is then okay to proceed with the payment in their name. This is a very important point to note because the payment of rent or sale should always be made in the name of the landlord/seller, so please check the wording of the power of attorney document very carefully. For added security, you can also request an email from the owner to say that they are happy for the power of attorney to receive the rent in their name.

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