Mario Volpi: Dubai tenant's absent landlord complicates rent and maintenance payments

I signed a contract last year for an apartment and paid in cash. I found the property on Dubizzle as listed by the landlord’s agent. The agent apparently only passed on half of my payment and then left the real estate company. Another person at that company assumed the case, but the landlord is never in the country and has never reimbursed me for any maintenance. The Ejari with the previous tenant was also never cancelled, so I’ve been unable to register my contract and use the building’s facilities. I am leaving the apartment this month and would like to recover the maintenance fees and my security deposit. I’m concerned this won’t happen because the landlord is always gone, and the new agent implies that I don’t have any legal recourse because I paid in cash. This, he claims, renders the transaction illegitimate (I don’t have a physical receipt but I do have documentation and a witness). I think the landlord has clearly been negligent and either he or the real estate company should take responsibility for the bad agent/employee representing their firm. Do I have any leverage to recover my money or am I at the mercy of the erstwhile landlord? MT, Dubai

Responsibility for maintenance of a rented property is often divided into two ways. Any single works required that amounts to less than Dh500 is normally the responsibility of the tenant to pay; any amount over this is the landlord’s responsibility. I hope you kept all receipts of any works carried out on the property so you can show the landlord exactly what has been spent. The deposit is also required to be returned at the end of the contract less any costs related to returning the property in the same condition it was given to you at the start. The difficulty here is that the landlord is often absent as you say, but presumably he does actually live in Dubai.

Filing a case at the rental committee costs 3.5 per cent of the annual rental amount. So you would have to weigh up this cost against the amount you have spent on maintenance that was the landlord’s responsibility and the deposit (if not returned) to see if it is economically worthwhile going down this route. With reference to the fraudulent activity of the original agent, I would definitely suggest you report this to Rera, if nothing else to stop others from thinking this is normal behaviour.

I live in newly built employee accommodation – so new that the district cooling (DC) com­pany has fallen behind schedule and has not yet connected AC to the building (and may not do so for several more months). My employer has installed temporary AC, obviously at some cost. This week, my employer is hoping to recover some of these costs, and is using the DC company calculations to impose demand charges and consumption charges, even though it is not possible to measure the consumption charges without meters. All tenants have been charged using the “low” consumption level created by the DC company regardless of usage. The payment is expected to go to the employer – but there is significant pushback from the residents because of the lack of evidence to justify consumption, and the very high costs imposed. What are our rights here? JM, Dubai

Normally speaking, as part of the accommodation you are entitled to quiet enjoyment of the property in return for paying rent. Given that this residence is offered free as part of your employment, the law is silent as to the strength of the above right. Sadly, there appears to be little you can do other than insist with your fellow workers that the company justifies consumption. Hopefully this scenario is only temporary. The last resort would be to request the company remove you from the collective situation by taking back the temporary A/C units to enable you to buy yourself portable units that you can regulate yourself.

Mario Volpi is the chief sales officer for Kensington Exclusive Properties and has worked in the property industry for the past 32 years in London and Dubai. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and they do not reflect in any way those of the institutions to which he is affiliated. It does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only. Please send any questions to mario.volpi@kensington.ae

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Dubai renter's absent landlord complicates rent and maintenance payments

I signed a contract last year for an apartment and paid in cash. I found the property on Dubizzle as listed by the landlord’s agent. The agent apparently only passed on half of my payment and then left the real estate company. Another person at that company assumed the case, but the landlord is never in the country and has never reimbursed me for any maintenance. The Ejari with the previous tenant was also never cancelled, so I’ve been unable to register my contract and use the building’s facilities. I am leaving the apartment this month and would like to recover the maintenance fees and my security deposit. I’m concerned this won’t happen because the landlord is always gone, and the new agent implies that I don’t have any legal recourse because I paid in cash. This, he claims, renders the transaction illegitimate (I don’t have a physical receipt but I do have documentation and a witness). I think the landlord has clearly been negligent and either he or the real estate company should take responsibility for the bad agent/employee representing their firm. Do I have any leverage to recover my money or am I at the mercy of the erstwhile landlord? MT, Dubai

Responsibility for maintenance of a rented property is often divided into two ways. Any single works required that amounts to less than Dh500 is normally the responsibility of the tenant to pay; any amount over this is the landlord’s responsibility. I hope you kept all receipts of any works carried out on the property so you can show the landlord exactly what has been spent. The deposit is also required to be returned at the end of the contract less any costs related to returning the property in the same condition it was given to you at the start. The difficulty here is that the landlord is often absent as you say, but presumably he does actually live in Dubai.

Filing a case at the rental committee costs 3.5 per cent of the annual rental amount. So you would have to weigh up this cost against the amount you have spent on maintenance that was the landlord’s responsibility and the deposit (if not returned) to see if it is economically worthwhile going down this route. With reference to the fraudulent activity of the original agent, I would definitely suggest you report this to Rera, if nothing else to stop others from thinking this is normal behaviour.

I live in newly built employee accommodation – so new that the district cooling (DC) company has fallen behind schedule and has not yet connected AC to the building (and may not do so for several more months). My employer has installed temporary AC, obviously at some cost. This week, my employer is hoping to recover some of these costs, and is using the DC company calculations to impose demand charges and consumption charges, even though it is not possible to measure the consumption charges without meters. All tenants have been charged using the “low” consumption level created by the DC company regardless of usage. The payment is expected to go to the employer – but there is significant pushback from the residents because of the lack of evidence to justify consumption, and the very high costs imposed. What are our rights here? JM, Dubai

Normally speaking, as part of the accommodation you are entitled to quiet enjoyment of the property in return for paying rent. Given that this residence is offered free as part of your employment, the law is silent as to the strength of the above right. Sadly, there appears to be little you can do other than insist with your fellow workers that the company justifies consumption. Hopefully this scenario is only temporary. The last resort would be to request the company remove you from the collective situation by taking back their temporary A/C units to enable you to buy yourself portable units that you can regulate yourself.

Mario Volpi is the chief sales officer for Kensington Exclusive Properties and has worked in the property industry for the past 32 years in London and Dubai. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and they do not reflect in any way those of the institutions to which he is affiliated. It does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only. Please send any questions to mario.volpi@kensington.ae.

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Mario Volpi: Dubai tenant's absent landlord complicates rent and maintenance payments

I signed a contract last year for an apartment and paid in cash. I found the property on Dubizzle as listed by the landlord’s agent. The agent apparently only passed on half of my payment and then left the real estate company. Another person at that company assumed the case, but the landlord is never in the country and has never reimbursed me for any maintenance. The Ejari with the previous tenant was also never cancelled, so I’ve been unable to register my contract and use the building’s facilities. I am leaving the apartment this month and would like to recover the maintenance fees and my security deposit. I’m concerned this won’t happen because the landlord is always gone, and the new agent implies that I don’t have any legal recourse because I paid in cash. This, he claims, renders the transaction illegitimate (I don’t have a physical receipt but I do have documentation and a witness). I think the landlord has clearly been negligent and either he or the real estate company should take responsibility for the bad agent/employee representing their firm. Do I have any leverage to recover my money or am I at the mercy of the erstwhile landlord? MT, Dubai

Responsibility for maintenance of a rented property is often divided into two ways. Any single works required that amounts to less than Dh500 is normally the responsibility of the tenant to pay; any amount over this is the landlord’s responsibility. I hope you kept all receipts of any works carried out on the property so you can show the landlord exactly what has been spent. The deposit is also required to be returned at the end of the contract less any costs related to returning the property in the same condition it was given to you at the start. The difficulty here is that the landlord is often absent as you say, but presumably he does actually live in Dubai.

Filing a case at the rental committee costs 3.5 per cent of the annual rental amount. So you would have to weigh up this cost against the amount you have spent on maintenance that was the landlord’s responsibility and the deposit (if not returned) to see if it is economically worthwhile going down this route. With reference to the fraudulent activity of the original agent, I would definitely suggest you report this to Rera, if nothing else to stop others from thinking this is normal behaviour.

I live in newly built employee accommodation – so new that the district cooling (DC) com­pany has fallen behind schedule and has not yet connected AC to the building (and may not do so for several more months). My employer has installed temporary AC, obviously at some cost. This week, my employer is hoping to recover some of these costs, and is using the DC company calculations to impose demand charges and consumption charges, even though it is not possible to measure the consumption charges without meters. All tenants have been charged using the “low” consumption level created by the DC company regardless of usage. The payment is expected to go to the employer – but there is significant pushback from the residents because of the lack of evidence to justify consumption, and the very high costs imposed. What are our rights here? JM, Dubai

Normally speaking, as part of the accommodation you are entitled to quiet enjoyment of the property in return for paying rent. Given that this residence is offered free as part of your employment, the law is silent as to the strength of the above right. Sadly, there appears to be little you can do other than insist with your fellow workers that the company justifies consumption. Hopefully this scenario is only temporary. The last resort would be to request the company remove you from the collective situation by taking back the temporary A/C units to enable you to buy yourself portable units that you can regulate yourself.

Mario Volpi is the chief sales officer for Kensington Exclusive Properties and has worked in the property industry for the past 32 years in London and Dubai. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and they do not reflect in any way those of the institutions to which he is affiliated. It does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only. Please send any questions to mario.volpi@kensington.ae

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Abu Dhabi landlord refuses to pay for villa repairs

My family and I live in a villa development in Khalifa City A in Abu Dhabi. There have been numerous issues over the years with the glass panels in the showers shattering. This recently happened to our housemaid, who was seriously cut on her hand and required stitches. The landlord has refused to pay to replace the glass panel. He has also repeatedly refused to replace the door panel of the shower in the maid’s room that has been missing since before we moved in, in 2014. Is he legally required to replace these things? Is there a reliable resource where we can check his responsibilities to us as tenants? JS, Abu Dhabi

It really saddens me to receive emails such as yours, explaining that landlords are not prepared to replace this or to fix that. Landlords need to understand that they have a duty of care to their tenants when renting out their property in exchange for rent payable. Unfortunately some landlords (not all), think that once a tenant has been found and the rent is in their bank account that this is the end, when in reality this is the beginning of hopefully a mutually beneficial relationship.

It is true that in most agreements, the tenant is respon­sible for minor maintenance of Dh500 or less and that the landlord is responsible for maintenance above this figure. Even when this clause is written in the contract, it is sometimes difficult to get the landlord to pay their way.

In your case, I assume the broken shower glass was not due to negligence on your part. I would therefore suggest you try one more time to get the owner to pay for the replacement. If you are not successful, I would inform the landlord in writing that you will organise for the replacement yourself, keep the receipt as proof, then deduct this amount from the next rental payment.

My wife and I have lived in our flat for almost two years now. We extended our lease 12 months ago and now wish to vacate at the end of this second year. We have twice sent notice to our landlord (and the property owner) by email, informing them that we do not wish to renew for a third year. These not­ices were sent three months and two months before the expiry this year. Both emails have been ignored, as have other attempts to notify the landlord. I think it’s clear that they are trying to avoid confirming our notice so that they can later claim we did not “properly” notify them. What should we do? AJ, Dubai

It would appear from your letter that you have complied with all that is required of you to give notice that you do not wish to renew your agreement. The law states that any changes to the contract must be communicated in writing (email is fine) by ­either party giving at least 90 days’ notice. It is always polite for the other person to acknowledge this notification, but sadly this sometimes does not happen, by tenants and landlords, I may add.

I suggest you contact the agent (if there is one) to verbally confirm what you have already communicated to the landlord. Even if you are only dealing with the landlord directly, you can proceed with your plans and move out at the end of the tenancy contract.

The landlord cannot file a case against you at the rental dispute centre as you have done nothing wrong. I suggest you pre-empt any further issues by also requesting how the landlord intends to return your security deposit when the time comes.

Mario Volpi is the chief sales officer for Kensington Exclusive Properties and has worked in the property industry for the past 32 years in London and Dubai. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and they do not reflect in any way those of the institutions to which he is affiliated. It does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only. Please send any questions to mario.volpi@kensington.ae

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Homefront: How Dubai's new rules on property adverts will affect home sellers

I am a seller of a two-bedroom apartment in JBR and I have just been informed that there is a new legislation coming into force by Rera regarding the advertising of property. Can you please enlighten me as to what the details are so that I can be assured of being on the right side of the law? SG, Dubai

The ever-changing face of Dubai real estate with specific reference to tighter regulations is always, in my opinion, welcomed. Since the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (Rera) was formed in July 2007, it has worked tirelessly to implement better systems and passed regulations designed to protect all real estate stakeholders and consumers, agents, buyers and sellers, landlords and tenants.

Broadly speaking, any changes to the regulatory framework are always made with the aim to improve the market, to protect all concerned and to ensure that the ease of doing business is maintained.

The latest Rera mandate was communicated to agents via email on August 10, 2016 and reported in the press last week. It came into force on Sunday, October 9. The communication stated that all real estate companies and institutions that wish to publish any real estate announcements or advertise properties in print, online, radio and social media etc will now need to get a permit for each property to do so.

Great news, I hear you say and to a point, I too am happy that this is now a regulation, if only to stop fake adverts from littering our publicly visited property portals. What I do struggle with, however, is the mode of implementation. I am not aware any consultation was carried out among the agents and Rera before the email communication was sent, therefore nobody really knows how this is going to work as of yet. Issuing the regulation but not explaining exactly how agents are expected to comply is not helpful. The permits will be applied for online via the Trakheesi section within the Dubai Land Department website.

With this mandate, another important announcement needs to be communicated to each and every seller or landlord who wishes to market their property via an agent. To comply with this regulation, they (sellers/landlords) will have to sign the Rera form A that agents normally request be filled in and signed when first listing the property. These forms were originally introduced way back in 2008 but only made mandatory in May 2014. The form A is the agreement between seller/landlord and the agent. This form can be viewed or downloaded on www.emart.gov.ae.

Previously Rera had said that a seller could list his/her own property with up to three agents only. This rule is definitely not being adhered to by the public, as some sellers list with anyone and everyone.

As agents, we do find it increasingly difficult to comply with the law owing to many sellers not wishing to sign anything at the beginning, especially this form A. This is very surprising, it is produced for their protection as well as the protection of the agent but nevertheless it still remains largely unsigned. With the new regulation in place, no agent will be allowed to advertise or market the property without it.

Both sellers and landlords will now have to change how they market their properties. They will have to work closer with their agents, not against them. Gone are the days of just putting their property on the market by verbally agreeing to do so. To verify the ownership of the listing, the agent now requires copies of the signed form A, passport of the owner and title deed. They will proceed to pay for the permit to advertise by submitting the same again online. All of this needs to be done before marketing can commence. As a result, I’m sure seller fees will now also be more widely introduced by agents.

This new mandate will definitely create more work, but if in the long run it succeeds in cleaning up our real estate market, then I for one will be happy to put in the extra hours.

Mario Volpi is the chief sales officer for Kensington Exclusive Properties and has worked in the property industry for the past 32 years in London and Dubai. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and they do not reflect in any way those of the institutions to which he is affiliated. It does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only. Please send any questions to mario.volpi@kensington.ae.

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How Dubai's new rules on property adverts will affect home sellers

I am a seller of a two-bedroom apartment in JBR and I have just been informed that there is a new legislation coming into force by Rera regarding the advertising of property. Can you please enlighten me as to what the details are so that I can be assured of being on the right side of the law? SG, Dubai

The ever-changing face of Dubai real estate with specific reference to tighter regulations is always, in my opinion, welcomed. Since the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (Rera) was formed in July 2007, it has worked tirelessly to implement better systems and passed regulations designed to protect all real estate stakeholders and consumers, agents, buyers and sellers, landlords and tenants.

Broadly speaking, any changes to the regulatory framework are always made with the aim to improve the market, to protect all concerned and to ensure that the ease of doing business is maintained.

The latest Rera mandate was communicated to agents via email on August 10, 2016 and reported in the press last week. It came into force on Sunday, October 9. The communication stated that all real estate companies and institutions that wish to publish any real estate announcements or advertise properties in print, online, radio and social media etc will now need to get a permit for each property to do so.

Great news, I hear you say and to a point, I too am happy that this is now a regulation, if only to stop fake adverts from littering our publicly visited property portals. What I do struggle with, however, is the mode of implementation. I am not aware any consultation was carried out among the agents and Rera before the email communication was sent, therefore nobody really knows how this is going to work as of yet. Issuing the regulation but not explaining exactly how agents are expected to comply is not helpful. The permits will be applied for online via the Trakheesi section within the Dubai Land Department website.

With this mandate, another important announcement needs to be communicated to each and every seller or landlord who wishes to market their property via an agent. To comply with this regulation, they (sellers/landlords) will have to sign the Rera form A that agents normally request be filled in and signed when first listing the property. These forms were originally introduced way back in 2008 but only made mandatory in May 2014. The form A is the agreement between seller/landlord and the agent. This form can be viewed or downloaded on www.emart.gov.ae.

Previously Rera had said that a seller could list his/her own property with up to three agents only. This rule is definitely not being adhered to by the public, as some sellers list with anyone and everyone.

As agents, we do find it increasingly difficult to comply with the law owing to many sellers not wishing to sign anything at the beginning, especially this form A. This is very surprising, it is produced for their protection as well as the protection of the agent but nevertheless it still remains largely unsigned. With the new regulation in place, no agent will be allowed to advertise or market the property without it.

Both sellers and landlords will now have to change how they market their properties. They will have to work closer with their agents, not against them. Gone are the days of just putting their property on the market by verbally agreeing to do so. To verify the ownership of the listing, the agent now requires copies of the signed form A, passport of the owner and title deed. They will proceed to pay for the permit to advertise by submitting the same again online. All of this needs to be done before marketing can commence. As a result, I’m sure seller fees will now also be more widely introduced by agents.

This new mandate will definitely create more work, but if in the long run it succeeds in cleaning up our real estate market, then I for one will be happy to put in the extra hours.

Mario Volpi is the chief sales officer for Kensington Exclusive Properties and has worked in the property industry for the past 32 years in London and Dubai. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and they do not reflect in any way those of the institutions to which he is affiliated. It does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only. Please send any questions to mario.volpi@kensington.ae.

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Mario Volpi: How Dubai's new rules on property adverts will affect home sellers

I am a seller of a two-bedroom apartment in JBR and I have just been informed that there is a new legislation coming into force by Rera regarding the advertising of property. Can you please enlighten me as to what the details are so that I can be assured of being on the right side of the law? SG, Dubai

The ever-changing face of Dubai real estate with specific reference to tighter regulations is always, in my opinion, welcomed. Since the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (Rera) was formed in July 2007, it has worked tirelessly to implement better systems and passed regulations designed to protect all real estate stakeholders and consumers, agents, buyers and sellers, landlords and tenants.

Broadly speaking any changes to the regulatory framework are always made with the aim to improve the market, to protect all concerned and to ensure that the ease of doing business is maintained.

The latest Rera mandate was communicated to agents via email on August 10, 2016 and reported in the press last week. It came into force on Sunday, October 9.

The communication stated that all real estate companies and institutions that wish to publish any real estate announcements or advertise properties in print, online, radio and social media etc will now need to get a permit for each property to do so.

Great news, I hear you say and to a point, I too am happy that this is now a regulation, if only to stop fake adverts from littering our publicly visited property portals. What I do struggle with, however, is the mode of implementation. I am not aware any consultation was carried out among the agents and Rera before the email communication was sent, therefore nobody really knows how this is going to work as of yet.

Issuing the regulation but not explaining exactly how agents are expected to comply is not helpful. The permits will be applied for online via the Trakheesi section within the Dubai Land Department website.

With this mandate, another important announcement needs to be communicated to each and every seller or landlord who wishes to market their property via an agent. To comply with this regulation, they (sellers/landlords) will have to sign the Rera form A that agents normally request be filled in and signed when first listing the property. These forms were originally introduced way back in 2008 but only made mandatory in May 2014. The form A is the agreement between seller/landlord and the agent. This form can be viewed or downloaded on www.emart.gov.ae.

Previously Rera had said that a seller could list his/her own property with up to three agents only. This rule is definitely not being adhered to by the public, as some sellers list with anyone and everyone.

As agents, we do find it increasingly difficult to comply with the law owing to many sellers not wishing to sign anything at the beginning, especially this form A. This is very surprising, it is produced for their protection as well as the protection of the agent but nevertheless it still remains largely unsigned. With the new regulation in place, no agent will be allowed to advertise or market the property without it.

Both sellers and landlords will now have to change how they market their properties. They will have to work closer with their agents, not against them. Gone are the days of just putting their property on the market by verbally agreeing to do so.

To verify the ownership of the listing, the agent now requires copies of the signed form A, passport of the owner and title deed. They will proceed to pay for the permit to advertise by submitting the same again online. All of this needs to be done before marketing can commence. As a result, I’m sure seller fees will now also be more widely introduced by agents.

This new mandate will definitely create more work, but if in the long run it succeeds in cleaning up our real estate market, then I for one will be happy to put in the extra hours.

Mario Volpi is the chief sales officer for Kensington Exclusive Properties and has worked in the property industry for the past 32 years in London and Dubai. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and they do not reflect in any way those of the institutions to which he is affiliated. It does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only. Please send any questions to mario.volpi@kensington.ae.

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UK property is good for yield, but UAE is better

I have lived in Abu Dhabi for 10 years and want to invest in property either in the UAE or the United Kingdom. Do UK properties yield a good return? Is there a big impact from tax on such properties? Would mortgage borrowing be beneficial in the UK to enhance the yield? Alternatively, is investment in Dubai more beneficial than the UK with regard to returns, considering this is nearer to home with fewer hassles from law and taxes? I may retire in a few years and therefore am looking at building a good income stream to fund myself post-retirement in Dubai or Abu Dhabi. RN, Abu Dhabi

Investing in the UK property market has in the long term been a fruitful experience for most of its participants, especially when the property has been held for a sustained period of time. Property in the UK has always been regarded as an excellent investment when held for approximately five to 10 years.

If you are looking at rental yields or return on investments (ROI), I suggest you may be disappointed when you compare the UK returns to those of Dubai or Abu Dhabi. The average rental yield (gross rental price divided by the property’s purchase price) in Dubai is between 7 and 8 per cent for apartments (depending on the location). The most popular areas of Dubai for ROI are: Dubai Silicon Oasis followed by Dubai Sports City, then International Media Production Zone and lastly Jumeirah Village Circle. In Abu Dhabi the yield topped out at 8.8 per cent during the second quarter of this year. The most popular areas for ROI in Abu Dhabi are: Al Reef Downtown, Al Ghadeer and Al Muneera.

When these are compared to other cities of the world, the UAE does come out on top. Hong Kong, for example, has a gross rental yield average of 2.8 per cent, India is 2.2 per cent, Singapore is 2.8 per cent and the London average is about 2.9 per cent.

There are areas of London that command a better rate than the average, with the best being Islington, King’s Cross and Hoxton in N1, with 3.9 per cent, followed by Chiswick, Gunnersbury and Turnham Green in W4 with 3.8 per cent, and lastly Balham and Clapham South in SW12 with 3.7 per cent.

Buying UK property with the aid of mortgages will allow you to spread your investments as this will enable your buying power to go further.

Asking whether the UK is a better option than Dubai when investing in property is a tough question to answer in one go, as both offer excellent reasons to invest. So I guess it really depends on your own criteria.

Since April this year, buying a second and subsequent homes in the UK will now attract an additional 3 per cent stamp duty on top of the standard rates of stamp duty that apply depending on the purchase price. There are also capital gains taxes to pay when the property is sold to take into consideration.

Buying in Dubai is quicker and some would argue much easier, with only one extra payment of 4 per cent (transfer fee) payable on the purchase.

While London does have the Crossrail project to look forward to and therefore properties on or near the stations on this development will have good capital appreciation, Dubai has the Expo 2020. The Expo will do for Dubai what the London 2012 Olympics did for the Stratford area, where house prices have grown 64 per cent on average in the past four years because of the money spent on infrastructure etc.

The Expo will leave a lasting legacy for Dubai with improved infrastructure, more facilities, more open spaces and leisure facilities, job creation in construction, hospitality and aviation, and the recycling of buildings and facilities into educational institutes, museums etc.

While all this is great for the future, what about the here and now? There are many projects that are completed and others that are due for handover in a couple of months that are guaranteeing 10 per cent net return on investments. Many of these projects are linked to hospitality, which is good news given the lack of hotel rooms needed for the estimated 25 million visitors due to come for the six-month Expo extravaganza. This will also ensure good capital appreciation for this type of real estate for the next three years at least.

Mario Volpi is the chief sales officer for Kensington Exclusive Properties and has worked in the property industry for the past 32 years in London and Dubai. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and they do not reflect in any way those of the institutions to which he is affiliated. It does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only. Please send any questions to mario.volpi@kensington.ae

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Dubai tenant banned from storing kayak and fishing equipment in allocated parking space

I have lived in an apartment in Dubai for more than 10 years and have always stored a few things behind my allocated basement parking spot – a kayak, and a cupboard of fishing equipment, which the landlord accepted. However, this week, the landlord contacted me and said there had been a Municipality inspection and I had to remove everything immediately or be fined Dh5,000. I understand the Municipality may require removal of anything that is a fire risk or hazardous, but I am not storing such items. Is this a new policy? And what are tenants allowed to store in basement parking according to Dubai Municipality? RP, Dubai

I think your answer lies in contacting the managing agent for the building. They will be able to explain what Dubai Municipality would allow the storage of and where. It is true that many managing agents do not allow the storing of bikes, prams, strollers, etc in common areas such as outside apartment doors in communal hallways or rear service areas. They do quote fire regulations as the reason for their removal. It is difficult to say why all of a sudden, you are now being asked to remove your items, especially as you have landlord’s consent and presumably have not been contacted by security or managing agents to remove them before. You could also try calling Dubai Municipality directly on 800900 or visit their website www.dm.gov.ae for more information.

I live in Dubai Marina on a short-term monthly contract, that is due to expire next month. The contract mentions that the rent cannot be increased before October 3 and if it increases after this date I am to be told one month in advance. I have just been told the new contract terms: the same rent of Dh7,000 for the first month and then from November it will increase to Dh7,700. Is this allowed? BV, Dubai

Short-term or holiday rentals are now regulated by Dubai Trade Commerce Marketing (DTCM). To check if your landlord is acting legally, he would need to produce his registration certificate allowing him to rent out his property on a short-term basis. If he is not individually registered as an operator, he can still rent out the property for short-term lets by using the services of a licensed operator company – from the real estate sector. If he is acting illegally and he gets caught, he will be fined.

With reference to the agreed contract, if the landlord wishes to increase the rent by Dh700 per month and he has given you the notice to do so, he is entitled to request this, but whether you choose to accept is another matter. If renting short-term accommodation is convenient for you, then you will have to weigh up if this increase is better than the hassle and cost of finding another property.

Remember, if the landlord is acting illegally by not being registered and does get fined, it is possible you will be asked to leave too. Ultimately you must decide if you are happy with this increase, but in terms of the written agreement the landlord is within his rights.

In Dubai freehold areas (particularly Discovery gardens) can the landlord charge tenants a fee of 5 per cent of the rental value towards upkeep of common areas? This is over and above the Dubai Municipality-approved rent increase. Also, I am paying approx Dh4,000 in cooling charges for the studio apartment that I have lived for the last four years. In last year’s tenancy contract, the landlord included a clause stating that 5 per cent additional fee would be levied in the following year (next renewal) towards upkeep of common areas. I apparently didn’t notice this at that time. AD, Dubai

The cost of the annual building maintenance or service charge is the responsibility of the landlord, not the tenant. However, if your landlord has written in the agreement that the tenant has to pay for these charges and effectively given you 12 months’ notice to which you have signed, it means you have agreed to this. You may have missed this clause in your present contract but even so, I repeat, you have signed for it.

My advice would be to organise a meeting with the landlord to explain your position that you already pay the going rent and additional cooling charges, so cannot afford or will not accept to pay yet another levy on top. If he does not agree, you always have the choice of vacating and finding another property. I’m sure you will find some common ground with the landlord when he realises he may have to relet it if you move out.

Mario Volpi is the chief sales officer for Kensington Exclusive Properties and has worked in the property industry for the past 32 years in London and Dubai. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and they do not reflect in any way those of the institutions to which he is affiliated. It does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only. Please send any questions to mario.volpi@kensington.ae.

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Dubai tenant prohibited from storing kayak and fishing equipment in allocated parking space

I have lived in an apartment in Dubai for more than 10 years and have always stored a few things behind my allocated basement parking spot – a kayak and a cupboard of fishing equipment, which the landlord accepted. However, this week, the landlord contacted me and said there had been a Municipality inspection and I had to remove everything immediately or be fined Dh5,000. I understand the Municipality may require removal of anything that is a fire risk or hazardous, but I am not storing such items. Is this a new policy? And what are tenants allowed to store in basement parking according to Dubai Municipality? RP, Dubai

I think your answer lies in contacting the managing agent for the building. They will be able to explain what Dubai Municipality would allow the storage of and where. It is true that many managing agents do not allow the storing of bikes, prams, strollers, etc in common areas such as outside apartment doors in communal hallways or rear service areas. They do quote fire regulations as the reason for their removal. It is difficult to say why all of a sudden you are now being asked to remove your items, especially as you have the landlord’s consent and presumably have not been contacted by security or managing agents to remove them before. You could also try calling Dubai Municipality directly on 800 900 or visit the website www.dm.gov.ae for more information.

I live in Dubai Marina on a short-term monthly contract that is due to expire next month. The contract mentions that the rent cannot be increased before October 3 and if it increases after this date I am to be told one month in advance. I have just been told the new contract terms: the same rent of Dh7,000 for the first month and then from November it will increase to Dh7,700. Is this allowed? BV, Dubai

Short-term or holiday rentals are now regulated by Dubai Trade Commerce Marketing. To check if your landlord is acting legally, he would need to produce his registration certificate allowing him to rent out his property on a short-term basis. If he is not individually registered as an operator, he can still rent out the property for short-term lets by using the services of a licensed operator company from the real estate sector. If he is acting illegally and he gets caught, he will be fined.

With reference to the agreed contract, if the landlord wishes to increase the rent by Dh700 per month and he has given you the notice to do so, he is entitled to request this, but whether you choose to accept is another matter. If renting short-term accommodation is convenient for you, then you will have to weigh up if this increase is better than the hassle and cost of finding another property.

Remember, if the landlord is acting illegally by not being registered and does get fined, it is possible you will also be asked to leave. Ultimately you must decide if you are happy with this increase, but in terms of the written agreement the landlord is within his rights.

In Dubai freehold areas (particularly Discovery Gardens) can the landlord charge tenants a fee of 5 per cent of the rental value towards upkeep of common areas? This is over and above the Dubai Municipality-approved rent increase. Also, I am paying approx Dh4,000 in cooling charges for the studio apartment that I have lived in for the last four years. In last year’s tenancy contract, the landlord included a clause stating that 5 per cent additional fee would be levied in the following year (next renewal) towards upkeep of common areas. I apparently didn’t notice this at that time. AD, Dubai

The cost of the annual building maintenance or service charge is the responsibility of the landlord, not the tenant. However, if your landlord has written in the agreement that the tenant has to pay for these charges and effectively given you 12 months’ notice to which you have signed, it means you have agreed to this. You may have missed this clause in your present contract, but you have signed for it.

My advice would be to organise a meeting with the landlord to explain your position that you are already pay the going rent and additional cooling charges, so cannot afford or will not accept paying yet another levy on top. If he does not agree, you always have the choice of vacating and finding another property. I’m sure you will find some common ground with the landlord when he realises he may have to relet it if you move out.

Mario Volpi is the chief sales officer for Kensington Exclusive Properties and has worked in the property industry for the past 32 years in London and Dubai. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and they do not reflect in any way those of the institutions to which he is affiliated. It does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only. Please send any questions to mario.volpi@kensington.ae

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