Homefront: no idea who landlord is after Dubai villa was sold

Mario Volpi helps a reader whose deposit cheque of Dh30,000 and the final rental cheque of Dh140,000 for six months are held by the previous landlord, who is proving uncontactable.

A Dubai reader has a problem with finding out who his landlord is. Property expert Mario Volpi is here to help . Pawan Singh / The National
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We have a tenancy contract agreed until June 2014 and have been told our landlord sold the property we rent four months ago without telling us. We have tried to contact our landlord via mail, telephone and text with no reply. He has a deposit cheque of Dh30,000 and the final rental cheque of Dh140,000 for six months. We did receive an eviction notice giving us 12 months to leave the property, however no reason for the eviction was listed. At the moment we rent a property with no idea who the landlord is and no way of contacting the old or new owner even in an emergency. Is there any way to find out who the new owner is, or if the property really has been sold? GH, Dubai

In the event of a sale, as it would appear to be the case now, the 12 months’ notice period should start from when the new owner takes possession.

This will then give you a clear period before you would need to vacate. If the new owner is wanting to move in then this procedure is legitimate. If, however, he wants you out to relet at a higher rent than you are currently paying, then this is illegal.

The owner cannot relet the property for two years beyond your eviction date. If you subsequently find out he has relet the property within this period, you can make a case against him at the rent committee, which will look to compensate you for your loss.

To find out if the property has indeed been sold and who the new owner is, go to the Land Department with your tenancy agreement and passport copy; they should then inform you of the details.

In the meantime, my advice is to just sit tight. Your second cheque will no doubt get cashed. Sooner or later someone will come calling so I guess your situation will become clearer then.

If any repairs or maintenance are required on the property then I would go ahead and get the problem fixed, keep the receipt and claim the monies back when the owner finally shows himself.

Remember to ask to see the title deed and passport copy for verification of identity of anyone purporting to be the owner.

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