Our old landlord tried to evict us and then increase the rent without doing so properly. But it was all such a hassle that we decided to move as we just didn't want to deal with him any more. We'd paid a deposit of Dh6,000 but only Dh3,000 was returned to us and no explanation has been given. The property was left in good condition with just one wall that needed repainting. Do I have any grounds to pursue the remainder of the deposit? PG, Dubai
The landlord should provide you with a proper explanation as to why he has not paid the deposit back in full. Unless you signed an agreement saying you would repaint before leaving, tenants are not obliged to repaint a property and a certain amount of wear and tear is expected. Assuming the repainting was minor and just due to the effects of daily living, you do not have to pay for this. Articles 20 and 21 of Law 26 of 2007 Regulating relationship between landlords and tenants in the emirate of Dubai are relevant here. Article 20 states that the “Landlord may obtain maintenance deposit amount from tenants to guarantee maintenance of premises at the end of the tenancy contract, provided the landlord shall undertake to refund this deposit, or any remaining amount, on expiry of contract”. This is followed by Article 21 which states: “Tenant shall be obliged, upon expiry of tenancy, to return the premises to landlord in the same condition as handed over to him at the time of contracting except, shortages resulting from normal use or for reasons beyond his control. However, in the case of any dispute, the matter shall be referred to the committee for any decision.” The wording essentially says that the deposit should be returned in full unless there has been unreasonable damage to the property. Ideally, it is best not to hand back the keys until the deposit is returned and a date for handover should be agreed between both parties. In this situation PG will need to decide if he wants to pursue a case for the sum of Dh3,000, but often the suggestion of further action is sufficient for a situation to be resolved.
Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with over 20 years of experience. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE.
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