Homefront: ‘Can I contact my landlord directly to request a rent reduction?’

The Dubai tenant has had his salary cut and wants to avoid the agent in his negotiations

My salary has been halved since April and I am having a difficult time paying my rent. Is it right to directly contact the owner of the apartment and ask for a rent reduction instead of the real estate agent? I have the owner's contact number but am hesitant to call him for fear of rejection. I am also afraid that if I contact the owner without the agent's consent, he might take it against me. I reached out to the Rental Dispute Settlement Centre, which advised me to have a word with the agent. FC, Dubai

You are one of a growing number of tenants facing difficulties with rental payments due to the financial implications of Covid-19. However, landlords, too, are probably facing financial issues. Having said that, I would always urge you or any tenant for that matter to speak to the landlord directly to find an amicable solution.

Better still, try to have a face-to-face meeting with the landlord so that you can properly explain your situation. It would appear that you might be looking for a deferment of rent, given your financial position will hopefully improve again soon.

At the meeting, it is important to show evidence of your salary reduction and hardship. Try to find a win-win solution.

It is true that the landlord may not want to listen but if you remain reasonable in your request, the chances are you will succeed.

I invested in a property in Dubai and paid the deposit to the developer. The project did not take off and I have been trying to get my deposit back for a few years now. However, my attempts have been futile. What can I do? MG, Dubai

After the reader provided additional information about the project, I can confirm that it has been cancelled after being just 0.1 per cent complete, according to the Dubai Land Department website. However, the fact that the project has been cancelled should make it easier for you to claim your money back.

Despite there being no other information on the DLD website, it would appear that the developer is still in operation. That said, if you also have a court case pending, the court should be better placed to advise you about the procedure going forward.

The fact that the project has been cancelled should make it easier for you to claim your money back

You do not mention what other correspondence you’ve had with the developer in terms of getting your money back. Often, writing emails or other types of written correspondence does not give you the desired effect because you can be left waiting for information that can take forever to come.

My advice would be to first speak to the court by quoting your case number and secondly, visit the developer in person when you are able to. I’m sure that between these two options, you will surely get a conclusion, especially as the Dubai Land Department has cancelled the project.

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