Proof of service charge payments needed before renewal of lease

Before committing to another year, the tenant needs confirmation that outstanding charges have been settled.

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My rental agreement expires in January and I've written to the landlord expressing a desire to renew but have yet to receive any confirmation of my request. However, there are unpaid service charges to Nakheel and unpaid Palm Utility Capacity Charges (both of which are payable by the landlord under my contract), therefore renewal for me would be subject to clearance (and evidence) of the outstanding charges. Under the Rera calculator the landlord is entitled to increase the rent by 5 per cent of Dh7,000. But I do not feel it would be wise to hand over renewal monies in January without confirmation that charges are fully paid up to date. MH, Dubai

The subject of non-payment of service charges is a common problem in Dubai, mainly because of the high number of absentee or overseas living landlords who either choose to ignore service charge invoices or have difficulty in discharging these obligations. Either way this causes huge problems for tenants like yourself who have or will have paid the rent but could be excluded from using the facilities (swimming pool, gym etc) as the developer gets tough on the unit owners.

While I do not or never will advocate withholding rental payments, my advice would be to try to communicate with your landlord again the fact you wish to renew your tenancy in January but this time explain that the rent will be increased by 5 per cent as per the Rera rent calculator found on the government website dubailand.gov.ae. This increase, however, would be subject to him paying off his service charge liabilities. You are entitled to have full enjoyment of the property which not only includes the apartment itself but all the facilities that are available; therefore if, by his actions of non-payment, you are denied these facilities you have every right to remedy this by, in my opinion, placing conditions to your removal. If again you do not receive a reply, do not panic. If your tenancy renewal date comes and goes, by law your agreement will automatically renew at the original rate. At this point if he still has not made contact with you, I would send him the original rent money (so you would have paid) and wait for a response.

Mario Volpi is the managing director of Prestige Real Estate in Dubai. He has 29 years’ of property industry experience in the emirate and London. Send any questions to mario@prestigedubai.com