Help! My colleague ran away without paying rent for our flat

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Dubai - Know your legal rights in the UAE

By Ashish Mehta

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Published: Sun 26 Jul 2020, 1:51 PM

Q: Can I file a case against a person over a 'breach of trust'? My former colleague offered to share a three-bedroom Dubai flat with me and we agreed to split the bill monthly. Now, he didn't pay his dues and ran away, leaving me with an outstanding balance of Dh8,888, which I already settled with an additional of Dh1,400 (maintenance charge) to get back my bank cheques. I called the police and they told me to call Dubai Courts. I don't know where to start.
Based on the Dubai Rental Law, a tenant in the emirate may have to obtain a written consent of the landlord to share a rented apartment with a third party. Such a consent from the landlord is necessary because subletting a rented apartment without approval is not in compliance with Article 24 of the Dubai Rental Law, which states: "Unless otherwise agreed by the parties to the lease contract, the tenant may not assign the use of or sub-lease the real property to third parties unless written consent of the landlord is obtained." 
Therefore, if your former colleague stayed with you in the rented flat with the written consent of your landlord - and you have a sub-tenancy contract - then you may file a complaint at the Rental Dispute Centre (RDC) in Dubai. However, if the flat was shared without the landlord's consent, you may not be in a position to register a complaint at the RDC. 
However, if you do not have the consent for the sharing set-up, as well as the sub-tenancy contract, you may still be able to file a civil case against your colleague - provided that you are in possession of documents that can prove you are sharing the rent and other utility charges. 
Since your claim amount is less than Dh50,000, you may lodge the civil complaint at the Centre of Amicable Settlement of Disputes, a reconciliation department of the Dubai Court. 
For debts and claims that are less than Dh50,000, Dubai residents may a civil complaint against a debtor at the Centre of Amicable Settlement of Disputes. 
Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and India. Full details of his firm on: Readers may e-mail their questions to: or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai. 

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