Homefront: 'What's the quickest way to reclaim my property after the tenant absconded?'

Two of the tenant's cheques have bounced on the JLT property in Dubai

Jumeirah Lakes Towers will be the first area in the UAE to get 5G. Sarah Dea / The National
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I am the owner and landlord of an apartment in Jumeirah Lakes Towers and I have an agent in place that manages the lease. My tenant pays in quarterly cheques and his last two have bounced. We filed a police report on one of these and received the case number. In early February, the tenant emailed me stating he is out of the country and will not be renewing the contract, which is due for renewal end of May. He said he would return at the end of February to hand over the apartment. However, this was the last contact I had with him and we cannot get in touch with him at all. He will not respond to emails and it appears his phone is off. I checked with his employer and they said he left on bad terms. I also checked with the building management company and they said there is no longer a car in the parking space and he no longer uses his access cards. I truly believe he has absconded. Maybe he tried to return and was stopped at the airport because of the police case. We are now proceeding with an eviction notice and then eviction. My query: is it really necessary to go this route as it’s very costly and time consuming. Can I simply wait until the end of May, when the property is due for renewal, and take back possession then? Is his email enough for us to do this rather than going down the long legal route when he has already said he won’t renew and has already left Dubai? ND, Dubai 

I accept that in some cases evicting a non-paying tenant can take a long time, especially as there are procedures to follow in order to legally effect the eviction. In your case, however, it would appear relatively straightforward.

You have a written communication from the tenant stating he will not be renewing his lease; his ex-employer states that he has left on bad terms and he doesn't respond to further emails. The information from the building management also indicates to me that it would be best to wait it out, as you suggested, and simply remarket the property for rent to a new tenant after the end of May.

The whole legal process to legalise the eviction may take a few months to be concluded. By that point, it will most likely be the same time as the end of the tenancy contract anyway.

What is the correct protocol when it comes to having work done on my house. I am having a minor extension and some renovation work carried out on my villa and as it is a terraced property, I have neighbours on either side. How much warning do I have to give that the work will be carried out? One neighbour gets a little irate if I even try to bang a nail in the wall, so I am concerned as to how this process will be managed as the work will take at least three weeks and there will be some noise. MM, Dubai 

I assume you are the owner of the property, therefore you will not need to confer with any landlord. The subject of noise is very emotive and one that often causes neighbours to fall out. I also have to assume you already have developer or municipality written permission for the extension works to be carried out.

The key to peace and harmony when carrying out repairs for works to a property is to let your neighbours know (in advance) what is going to happen and for how long and perhaps to apologise in advance for any nuisance caused. Obviously, it is not your intention to cause any problems but you should show your neighbours that you will do everything possible to minimise any disruption. With this kind of approach, I believe you will have no issues with them even if there will be loud building work noise. Keeping your neighbours updated with progress will also help in this regard.

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