Opening of new Rental Dispute Settlement Centre delayed

The centre, which promised a faster resolution to property disagreements, was scheduled to open yesterday at the Land Department to deal with all disputes between leaseholders and tenants in Dubai and the free zones.

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DUBAI // Tenants and landlords expecting a quick new system to resolve property disputes were disappointed on Sunday.

The Rental Dispute Settlement Centre at the Land Department failed to open as scheduled, and applicants were advised to carry on using the old system and open a case with Dubai Municipality’s Rent Committee.

No explanation was given for the delay, and no new opening date was forthcoming.

“It will take some months to move this to the Land Department building,” said an official at the municipality.

An official at the Land Department said all inquiries about the new rental centre were being re-directed to the municipality.

“There have been some calls and we have given them the municipality contact number,” she said.

The new centre, which promises a faster resolution to property disagreements, is intended to have a mediation section, a trial chamber, an appeals chamber and a section to implement rulings. It will be headed by judges and staffed by legal professionals.

Many tenants in dispute with their landlords were not aware that the system was being revamped.

Abdul Haseeb Khan has a hearing scheduled before the Rent Committee on November 24. His petition claims the owner of his home asked his family to vacate the property without the required one year’s notice.

“I have no idea about any change from the Municipality to the Land Department,” he said. Mr Khan’s lease expires in February and he received a letter to vacate this month along with more than a dozen Silicon Oasis tenants.

“I have submitted all documents and been given a hearing date. Whichever department conducts the hearing is fine by me, but later there may be confusion about who tenants should approach.”

Others said they would wait and watch before filing petitions.

Shahnawaz Kalim has six months remaining on his tenancy contract but has been asked to vacate. He has also sent his landlord a letter explaining the law and asking for a year’s notice.

“I will approach the committee if required,” he said.

“Some people have moved out without knowing what the law says. But it’s ridiculous to move when the law is on my side.

“My child goes to school nearby and I don’t want to move again far away and have my child travel more than an hour to school.”