Homefront: 'My property handover is three years late. Can I cancel the contract?' ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

The Dubai resident also wants to understand what compensation he is entitled to

Dubai , UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. July 23, 2015  - Stock photograph of buildings in The Old Town by Emaar Properties in Downtown Dubai, July 23, 2015. (Photo by: Sarah Dea/The National, Story by: STANDALONE, STOCK)
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A developer in Dubai has delayed the handover of my property by almost 36 months. Can I cancel the contract and get my money back? And, if I keep the property how much compensation will I receive by law? MH, Dubai 

As I do not have specific details on your case, I would firstly urge you to read your sales and purchase agreement (SPA). Within this contract there will be clauses explaining what happens should the developer delay handover. It will also outline what compensation (if any) would be allowed. The SPA will also give you clarity on cancelling the contract. By law the developer can be 12 months late to handover from the date on the SPA, but there may be other reasons allowed to extend this. This is why it is imperative to go through the contract with a fine tooth comb.

If the SPA is vague or there is nothing specifically written about delays or cancellation, then you can file a case against the developer. In general, the UAE Civil Law gives you the right to claim for compensation for delays in receiving your real estate unit. The court will decide exactly what losses have been incurred by you due to the property not completing on time.

In the event you want to cancel the contract, you can also file a claim to cancel it and return the unit to the contractors in a bid to recover any deposit you have already put down.

However, for any legal undertakings I strongly suggest you take legal advice to understand the costs involved against any other losses or expenses should you decide to go down this route.

Remember, it is always better to find an agreement with the parties concerned, so contact the developer directly and try and explore any options they may have before going down any legal route.

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