Q) In May this year, I vacated the accommodation provided to me by my employer. At the time of vacating it, I was told by my employer not to repaint the walls of the flat owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. He said he would get the repaint done and thereafter send the bill to me. However, it's been five months and I am yet to receive the bill. I want to know whether a limitation period exists after which I may refuse to pay for the costs arising from the repainting of the flat's walls.
At the outset, we assume your employer’s accommodation is situated in the emirate of Dubai. However, it may be noted that as your employer had provided you with an accommodation, the provisions of Law No. (26) of 2007 regulating the relationship between landlords and tenants in the emirate of Dubai (the ‘Dubai Tenancy Law’) and Law No. (33) of 2008 Amending Law No. (26) of 2007 regulating the relationship between landlords and tenants in the emirate of Dubai (the ‘Amended Dubai Tenancy Law’) shall not be applicable. This is in accordance with Article 3 of the Amended Tenancy Law, which states: “The provisions of this law will apply to lands and real property leased out in the emirate, excluding real property provided free of rent by natural or legal persons to accommodate their employees.”.
Further, if your employer employs 50 or more employees and the salary of each employee is less than Dh2,000, the provisions of Ministerial Resolution No. (591) of 2016 concerning the commitment of establishments to provide accommodation to their employees (the ‘Ministerial Resolution’) shall be applicable upon your employer. This is in accordance with Article 1 of the Ministerial Resolution, which states: “The establishments shall provide an accommodation for its employee in case the number of staff at the establishment is 50 or more, and the total salary of each employee is less than Dh2,000 per month according to the Wage Protection System adopted by the Ministry. …”.
In continuance, it may be noted that regulations may be imposed by the competent local authorities which are beneficial to the employees. This is in accordance with Article 3 of the Ministerial Resolution, which states: “The local authorities may impose controls which are more beneficial to employees.”
Based on the aforementioned provisions of law, your employer may be under an obligation to provide you with an accommodation and any costs arising from the usage of the said accommodation may be borne by the employer on the basis of the obligations delineated in the employment contract between you and your employer. Therefore, you should check the provisions of the employment contract to determine whether you are obliged to repaint the accommodation upon vacating it.
Know the law
The establishments shall provide an accommodation for its employee in case the number of staff at the establishment is 50 or more, and the total salary of each employee is less than Dh2,000 per month according to the Wage Protection System adopted by the Ministry
Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom and India. Full details of his firm on: www.amalawyers.com. Readers may e-mail their questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.