Homefront: 'Will paying rent in one cheque become a thing of the past?'

The Dubai tenant says building up funds to cover 12 months in one go is not ideal

The tenant has been told to make the payment this way by the landlord's agent. Photo:istockphoto.com
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My landlord always insists on being paid in one cheque. This is not ideal as I have to build up a substantial sum of cash to meet the payment every year, sometimes even dipping into my savings. I would rather pay in two or four cheques. Is there any sign that landlords demanding one cheque for a full year's rent will become a thing of the past? LH, Dubai 

Until we move away entirely from paying our rent via cheques, I do not believe we will see the one rental cheque payment go away.  There have, however, been some great forward strides in changing how we treat credit with the setting up of the Al Etihad Credit Bureau.

Despite the fact we are in a perceived tenants' market, there are still many rental transactions that are paid in one hit. Admittedly this form of payment is decreasing with two to four cheque payments now becoming the norm. On the reverse side of the argument, paying rent in 12 cheque payments has also become more common for some but this still represents only a small portion of how rent payments are made. Tenants are always on the lookout for better terms, so if lowering the rent is one strategy, paying for it in one cheque often gets the desired effect. For this reason, I believe we will still be paying rent in one go for the foreseeable future.

The market is such that negotiating better rates is definitely on the cards right now as landlords prefer to deal with the existing tenants as opposed to new unknown tenants. Therefore, in your case, requesting payments in two or more cheques should not be an issue. The key to this is to explain in a face-to-face meeting what paying in more than one cheque would mean to you but also what the possible outcome would be for the landlord if you were forced to vacate due to paying in one cheque. I’m sure the landlord is reasonable once all the facts are placed on the table.

We live in an apartment in Jumeirah Village Circle in Dubai. The landlord is selling it and called us a few weeks ago to say that people will be coming to view it. We've now had three showings unannounced with the agent letting himself in. Is this even legal? RN, Dubai 

For the sake of a good landlord/tenant relationship, helping the landlord out from time to time is always a wise move going forward but what you describe is not allowed.

Firstly, I would say that allowing access to rented property for viewings ought to be laid out within the tenancy contract. If there is no provision for viewings (for reason of sale), then it is purely down to the tenant's discretion to allow any access. Secondly, even if an agent has a key, they are not allowed to enter the property without proper notice and must have the tenant's permission. Any viewings should also not be unattended; this is for both you and the agent's protection, in case any undesirable incidents arise.

My advice would be to arrange a couple of times during the week or weekend when you would be happy to open up the property for viewing. This way you will be showing willingness to be helpful but are keeping control of your situation.

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