Homefront: 'I'm leaving the UAE. How do I ensure my apartment handover goes smoothly?'

The Dubai resident wants to do everything needed to get back his deposit

The Dubai resident is leaving the UAE and moving out of his apartment in Jumeirah Lakes Towers after three years of living there. Antonie Robertson / The National
The Dubai resident is leaving the UAE and moving out of his apartment in Jumeirah Lakes Towers after three years of living there. Antonie Robertson / The National

I'm leaving the UAE at the end of this month. Can you give me a checklist for all the things I need to do to ensure handing over my apartment to the landlord goes smoothly? I have lived in a two-bedroom apartment in a tower in Jumeirah Lakes Towers for the last three years and want to ensure everything is done in the correct manner to secure my deposit. I also want to make sure the paperwork is in order before my residence visa cancellation. I have a good relationship with the landlord but I still hear horror stories about when people move out. TM, Dubai

The first thing that needs to be done is to inform the landlord that you will not be renewing your lease. For this, I suggest you check your contract to see what the clauses say in terms of notice. Law 33 of 2008 amended Law 26 of 2007, which governs the relationship between landlords and tenants. The updated law did away with the need to give any notice when not renewing. However, one must abide by the agreed terms in the rental contract, which is binding.

The property has to be returned in the same condition it was given at the start of the lease so if it was freshly painted and cleaned this is how you have to give it back. Ensure you repair any minor issues that fall under the tenant's responsibility as per your contract. Typically any maintenance items that require a cost less than Dh500 per item fall under the responsibility of the tenant.

A few days before vacating, contact your utility companies explaining your departure. You will be given final bills for water, electricity, gas and cooling (if applicable) and internet/home services. Once all paid-up, keep receipts and clearance letters/certificates for proof of nothing further outstanding.

Don’t forget to visit your nearest happiness centre to cancel the Ejari too. Cancelling the Ejari is often a forgotten part of leaving a rented property, mainly because it doesn't really affect the outgoing tenant as such. The Ejari cancellation is however very important for the landlord because a new Ejari cannot be issued until the old one is terminated. The cost to close the file is Dh40 and some landlords insist on the cancellation before releasing any residual tenancy deposit.

Once all of the above is done, arrange for the landlord to visit the property with you just before departure to inspect it and organise for the return of your deposit. If one has already left the country, the landlord can send the remaining deposit owed through a bank transfer to the home country bank account of the tenant.

Mario Volpi is the sales and leasing manager at Engel & Volkers. He has worked in the property sector for 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: September 29, 2019 04:28 PM


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