Can Dubai property agent charge 10% commission instead of usual 5%?

What does the law say against agents that charge 10 per cent commission on the rental value instead of 5 per cent. Are they authorised to do so? Can we make a complaint against them? And, if so, how do we do that? AS, Dubai

You raise a very interesting point. The first thing I would like to clear up is that there is nothing in law that actually states that it is illegal to charge 10 per cent for the commission for a rental agreement. In fact, as long as all the parties involved agree, an agent could charge whatever fee he/she likes. The reality though is that 5 per cent is the norm for a rental commission fee. Having said that, as you are aware, there are many companies who are charging more than this. In other countries (such as UK), it is the norm to charge one month’s rent and this practice is in fact already here. In commercial leases the fee is also between 5-10 per cent and in many cases, the fees are taken from both the tenant and landlord, the same is true for sales commissions. This practice is also not illegal as long as all parties concerned are aware. So, despite the higher cost to you, the agency is not actually breaking the law. My advice to you, however, would be to try to negotiate better terms for this lease or indeed to seek out another property from another agent that will charge you just 5 per cent.

I bought a villa in 2014 with a tenant in it with the intention of moving in myself. But the tenant refuses to leave. Two months after the renewal in 2014, in line with the rental index, I sent a 12-month eviction notice – this was served by sticking it on the tenant’s door. Then this year the lease was renewed for another two months – with the same terms and conditions – to make up the period to the 12 months. Now, the lease has expired and the tenant has been ducking and diving saying he was oversees and will leave the property in two months. I filed a case to evict based on all legal documents and the tenant then filed a case against me to renew for another year indicating my refusal to renew. The judge ruled to extend for another two months even though the judge was provided a letter from the Dubai Land Department that I only own one property. We have an appeal with the appeal judge. My question is: did we miss something in this 18 month process? I never chose this tenant, he was inherited from the previous landlord and my family and I are paying rent and a mortgage while this tenant squats. ME, Dubai


Although the law is clear, its interpretation is not so clear.

Law 33 of 2008 Article 25 (2) states that a landlord can demand eviction of a tenant if the owner wishes to recover the property for use by him personally, for reason of selling, for reasons of renovation and modernisation or for reasons of demolition. This is all provided that a 12 months’ notice is sent either via notary public or registered mail upon expiry of the tenancy agreement.

You sent your notice correctly other than it was sent after renewal. I have explained to others in the past that the ultimate judgment is always with a presiding judge of the rental dispute committee at the time of any given hearing. This is due to the law not being set by precedent or on any outcomes that have gone on before but by a case-by-case basis. I suspect this may be a reason why the tenant has filed a case against you in the hope that the judge may find favour on him. The difficulty lies with not really knowing which way a judge may decide. All parties have a right to stay or move in but as stated before there are certain ways and procedures to ensure vacant possession and hopefully now after all this time, the judge may see it your way.

Mario Volpi is a real estate professional who has worked within the industry for the past 31 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 mariovolpi64@gmail.com

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