New body to resolve rental disputes

Abu Dhabi: Rental dispute settlement committees have started handling cases between landlords and tenants in Abu Dhabi after the new system was announced earlier this month.

Under the new system, landlords with a tenancy contract registered with the Abu Dhabi Municipality can file a case with the committee if a tenant fails to pay rent. If the committee rules in favour of the landlord, tenants will have 21 days to pay the rent failing which they will be served an eviction notice. In cases of commercial or industrial properties, the period will be 30 days.

“The lessor shall first submit to the committee an application to obtain the executive stamp, which he shall receive after verifying the fulfillment of the conditions. The application shall be submitted in accordance with the contract signed in the executive form,” said Adel Al Achabi, manager of enforcement administration at Abu Dhabi Judicial Department and Appeals, explaining how the official lease contract should be presented by the landlord when filing a case.

“The lessee shall be notified of payment within a period not exceeding 21 days from the date of notification in respect of the residential rents and 30 days from the date of notification for commercial and industrial [properties],” he added.

“If the tenant fails to pay the arrears during the said period, the execution proceedings shall be initiated against the tenant. If the tenant pays the arrears within the period specified, or before that, the execution shall be permanently stayed,” Al Achabi said.

He said the new regulations would ensure the rights of both the landlords and the tenants, highlighting how tenants can also use the committee to dispute any claims of failing to pay their rent.

“Tenants will also have the right through the committee to show that they have made the payment in question, and the judge will verify this by looking at the proof of receipts and any other evidence that the tenants bring. Once the judge looks at the evidence and sees that the payment has actually been made, the case file will be dismissed.”

Commenting on the benefits of having dedicated Rental Dispute Committees, Al Achabi said the new procedures would save both time and money for the courts.

“The new committees will reduce the amount of time courts were previously spending on such cases. It will also help save not only money but also manpower and result in better management of time.

“This will have a positive impact on the investment environment, the business sector and the real estate in particular,” he added.

Move welcomed

Ashraf P.K., an Indian homeowner said he believed the new Rental Dispute Committees would be a good thing for Abu Dhabi.

“It’s always good to have an intermediary – in this case the dispute committee that will resolve the issue between the landlord and the tenant in a speedy process. So instead of maybe spending months and a lot of money going to the courts, people can now go this new committee and resolve their issues quickly. Whenever there is a pay dispute, I believe the committees will be really helpful for everybody,” he added.

Karina Arcega, property coordinator at Al Zaheen Commercial Brokers, said the Rental Dispute Committees would increase investor confidence in the real estate market.

“Having these committees makes the process of settling rental disputes much simpler, and that in turn will lead to more confidence to invest in the real estate sector. Landlords and property owners will feel more secure in their investments because they have a system they can go to in case of any dispute.”


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