Apex court rejects claim for shop rent

ABU DHABI — Upholding the lower court’s verdict, the Federal Supreme Court has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Abu Dhabi Department for Social Services and Commercial Buildings demanding that a tenant pay the rent for a shop he handed over to its caretaker two years ago without getting a clearance certificate from the department.

By Adel Arafah

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Published: Mon 12 Feb 2007, 9:12 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 2:29 AM

The apex court said the certificate is not a mandatory document to prove that the tenant had vacated the premises unless the tenancy contract had set it as a condition. In this case, that the tenant had vacated the premises could be proved by the fact that he had handed in the key, it added.

Court records show the department filed a lawsuit with the Abu Dhabi Sharia Court of First Instance demanding that the tenant (who ran a restaurant) pay the rent due since February 2004. The department also requested the court to revoke the tenancy contract.

The court ruled in the department’s favour. The tenant challenged the verdict at the Abu Dhabi Sharia Court of Appeal, claiming that he handed over the keys to the caretaker and forwarded a certificate of clearance from the water and electricity company, which means he vacated the unit on April 28, 2004.

The appellate court amended the verdict and ordered the tenant pay Dh4,482 as the remaining amount of the agreed rent value.

The department moved the Federal Supreme Court, arguing that the tenant didn’t abide by the mandatory procedures for vacating the unit. It also contended that the tenant didn’t approach the department to obtain a clearance certificate with regard to maintenance and handing in the key should not exempt him from paying the rent since February 2004 up to the point the verdict was issued.

The apex court considered that the department’s plea was irrelevant and counter-productive as it didn’t deny receiving the key from the caretaker. It added that the tenancy contract didn’t stipulate that the key be delivered to the collection section at the department.

Accordingly, the apex court turned down the department’s petition and upheld the verdict issued by the lower court.

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