Tenants in Dubai are struggling to recover their security deposits as landlords find excuses to hold on to their money when they are vacating their apartments or villas.
Property owners in Dubai, and other parts of the UAE, demand a security deposit when a tenant signs a rental contract. The rental security deposit is not a legal requirement. However, landlords claim that this deposit is taken as a security measure and any damage or wear and tear caused to the property by the tenant will be deducted from it.
In most cases, the rental security deposit amount is either 5per cent of the agreed annual rent or a month’s rent, which the landlord promises to return once the tenant vacates the leased property in ‘as is‘ condition.
As the tenancy contracts usually do not define the as is condition or what what constitutes the normal ‘wear and tear’, landlords in Dubai are seen to take advantage of this.
There are plenty of complaints by expats in Dubai that the landlords or building management companies are not refunding their security deposits.
On the other hand, real estate firms find fault with the residents, claiming that tenants do not read the contracts properly before signing the dotted line. Tenants can always ask to add or modify a contract to protect their rights and interests. Some contracts mention that the vacating tenants should repair any damage that is beyond normal wear and tear, while some other contracts just require the tenants to repaint the unit. This is why, it is important for tenants to read the contracts thoroughly.
Here is what tenants can do to make sure they have a fair chance of getting their rental deposit back when they leave the property:
- Read tenancy contract carefully before signing
- Make sure the clauses regarding security deposits and maintenance are clear
- Ask the landlords to clearly define the ‘as is’ condition as well as the ‘wear and tear’
- Upon taking possession, take note of the apartment’s condition. Take pictures of the property, give a set to the landlord and ask them to provide a written receipt. In that way, both parties have proof of the ‘as is’ condition at the time tenancy contact starts
- During renewal of the contract, ensure the clauses haven’t been changed
In case the landlord or property management company is unfairly holding back the rental security deposit, tenants can approach Rera’s Rent Dispute Committee and register a case.