Dubai tenant should file a case against his disappearing landlord to secure deposit return

The Dubai resident must weigh up the time, cost and effort of filing a case at the Rental Dispute Settlement Committee against the amount due to him.

Mario Volpi offers the latest property advice to UAE residents. Pictured, Downtown Dubai. Courtesy Better Homes
Powered by automated translation

My landlord won't return my deposit. He promised to fix things before we moved and never did. I have record of this information. Six months into our lease, he decided to sell the place. We were forthcoming and gave up many Saturdays to let in future buyers. Given the hassle of showing the place to future buyers and his unresponsiveness to fix things, we decided to move out. The place was sold at the same time we were moving out. He asked to let the bank in to appraise the place. I gave him a key because we had already move out. He had never met with me to collect the other set of keys and I still access to the villa. I have been trying to get my deposit back since we moved out, but at first his older brother died and he had to leave the country. Last week, I received an email asking me to pay for repainting the place. I agreed to it, which meant that he will deduct Dh1,200 from the deposit. After I agreed to repainting, I asked when I will get the rest of my deposit. He asked me if I had cancelled the Ejari, but I informed him that I had never got one and he has since disappeared. What should I do in this matter as I am very upset about being taken advantage of by an evil landlord. OA, Dubai 

As is the case in most situations, communication and diplomacy rules the day. Patience is also a virtue that is very much needed as you have already seen, frustrations are abound from each corner turned. Because you have already attempted to communicate your points with the landlord, which has now fallen on deaf ears, and given the fact that you have been more than accommodating regarding access to the property by allowing to use some of the deposit to re-paint, I believe it is time to show your intention by filing a case at the Rental Dispute Settlement Committee (RDSC). Initially, you will have to weigh up the time, cost and effort in doing so against the actual deposit due. Sometimes tenants decide not to go through with the procedure as in some cases the deposit amount doesn’t cover the actual costs of the case. This is obviously your decision but if you decide to do nothing, this will mean you will probably never see the remainder of your deposit again. It is illegal for the landlord to keep any tenant's deposit without prior justification and reason. Sadly, this scenario is all too common and it is high time that landlords realise their responsibility to their tenants and that the holding of the deposit is only for reasons of any future expenses for repairs/repainting etc. after the tenant has vacated.

I  have reserved an apartment in Sharjah and my contract is supposed to start on August 1. I have already paid the advance booking, however when I visited the apartment the other day somebody else was staying there and he told me that he took this apartment around a week ago. After that I went to the real estate company's office and their manager told us that my booking was taken by an agent they are not aware of. Please tell me urgently what I should do because I need to shift from my current apartment at the end of this month. I have an advance payment receipt with the mentioned flat number. MM, Sharjah

In your situation, you have two choices. Go to the real estate company office and do not leave until the agent you dealt with sorts this out or you request your money back and look for another suitable property. I suspect that the availability of other options will surely determine which course of action you will take. Either way, you still have time before your deadline of August 1 to resolve the issue.

Mario Volpi is the chief sales officer for Kensington Exclusive Properties and has worked in the property industry for over 30 years in London and Dubai. The opinions expressed do not constitute legal advice and are provided for information only. Please send any questions to