I am an owner of a four-bedroom flat in Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR), and my tenant is leaving in two weeks, as his contract expires then. The problem is he has sent me pictures of wall damage from leaks in a bathroom. I never knew about this till now and he refuses to repaint the apartment before leaving. The tenant is supposed to have informed me when the leak started and the problem would have been resolved earlier. Instead the leak has damaged all the walls around the bathroom. I still have his deposit. What should I do? SA, Dubai
This situation is a clear case of when a tenant does not appear to care about a property just because they are vacating soon. You are right that he should have informed you as soon as the leaks started to appear so that as a responsible landlord you could have organised repair and maintenance. My advice would be to make sure you have the contact details of your tenant in case you need to get in touch after he has vacated. The main question here is to ascertain responsibility as to the cause of the leak. If through the tenant’s negligence the leak occurred, then you have every right to charge for the repairs. If, however, the leak is due to the building, then you will have to deal with this yourself as only minor maintenance is the responsibility of the tenant. JBR does seem to have issues with leaky pipes in the roof voids. You are correct in what you say regarding the tenant’s responsibility about handing back the apartment as it was given and that is why a deposit is taken. Fair wear and tear, however, is permissible. So depending on your investigation as to who is responsible for the leak will determine how much (if any) of the deposit is used.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org