Have you been cheated by a real estate agent? Here's what to do
Cheated by real estate agent? You can approach the Rera
It is the responsibility of the tenant to verify if the new premises are vacant before making any payment.
I am an expat who wanted to shift from a studio flat to 1BHK. We finalised an apartment through a real estate agent and signed a lease agreement. The day we were supposed to move to the new apartment, we were surprised by the presence of another tenant in the same apartment. I contacted the agent but his phone was switched off and I received a message from the bank that the cheque had been cashed. Unfortunately we don't have contract copy because that agent had taken it back, saying that he will return the same copy after owner's signature. We immediately approached nearest police station. They replied we have to approach Dubai court (public prosecution) first. We did the same and opened the file.
For three months, we have been trying to register our case, but the CID officer asked us to wait. Every time I go for a follow-up, he tells me to 'come back next week', 'agent is not responding', 'he is out of country', 'wait more' and so on... When I requested for cancellation of my other cheques, he asked me to wait and keep a low balance in account as the cheque will bounce and they will find out the person if any complaint comes.
The agent is from Pakistan and he left the country already. I am stuck now because the officials are not giving a clear picture. Kindly advice.
Pursuant to your queries it is assumed that the said apartment in question is in Dubai. It is the responsibility of the tenant to verify if the new premises are vacant before payment of any deposit money or handing over the rental cheques to the landlord or the real estate agent. It appears you did not view the apartment. You should have done some due diligence such as viewing the apartment and meeting the landlord before issuing the cheques. Further, you should have asked the agent to provide you with a copy of the authority issued by the landlord in favour of the real estate agent to rent the premises and collection of cheques. The functioning of the real estate agents falls under the jurisdiction of the Real Estate Regulations Agency (Rera). For any of the inconvenience caused to the tenant or the landlord by the real estate agent, the aggrieved party has the right to approach the Rera and file a complaint against the agent. In your case, the real estate agent has misled and cheated you.
Article 21 of Bylaw No. 85 of 2006 regulating the Real Estate Brokers Register in the Emirate of Dubai (the 'Real Estate Agent Law") states: "A real estate broker will be deemed the trustee of any amounts, securities, bonds or any other items delivered to him by any of the parties for safekeeping or for delivery to the other party. The real estate broker must deliver such items as agreed and will be bound by the relevant trusteeship rules.
The law further states: "A real estate broker will be held liable for any loss or damage suffered by the contracting parties as a result of his fraudulent act or deceit or as a result of failure to observe any relevant rules stipulated in this Bylaw or the code of professional ethics." Based on the aforementioned provisions of the law, your real estate is in breach of trust and the code of professional ethics laid down for a real estate broker operating in the emirate of Dubai by the Rera.
Further, the CID and the police department had advised you to be patient for some time as they need to investigate the matter thoroughly before reaching to a final conclusion and to verify if any other individual or individuals are involved in this matter. They may also need some time to check if the second cheque issued by you is encashed as this will help their investigation process. We recommend you to keep your bank intimated on this matter so that they will contact you if the second cheque is presented to your bank for encashment.
KNOW THE LAW
A real estate broker will be held liable for any loss or damage suffered by the contracting parties as a result of his fraudulent act or deceit or as a result of failure to observe any relevant rules.
Removal of life ban
I had been living in Abu Dhabi for the past 21 years with my family, including two children studying there. I joined a company in 2014 and my employment visa expired on May 2016. The company was not willing to renew my visa. So I cancelled my family visa and the company cancelled my visa on June 4. Meanwhile, I got a job in Abu Dhabi and was waiting for labour approval from the ministry. But on July 10, my previous company went to the immigration department and filed an absconding case against me and submitted my passport to the government. I was arrested and jailed for 15 days. After completing police procedures like eyescan, I was sent back to India. All of a sudden, my family members were left without any help and had to leave the UAE on their own. I got an employment visa from another company in Abu Dhabi, but I cannot enter the UAE since there is a life ban on my passport. My former company cheated me by misusing the law. Please give me your valuable suggestion to get the life ban removed and again enter the UAE.
Pursuant to your queries, it should be noted that you overstayed in the country upon cancellation of your residence visa. The grace period to stay in the UAE from the date of cancellation of residence visa is 30 days. Since you exceeded the grace period, your employer filed an absconding case against you as they perhaps could not contact you to ensure that you left the UAE in time. Based on this, the authorities may have arrested you and later deported upon completion of procedures.
Article 29 of Federal Law No. 6 for 1973 concerning Immigration and Residence, reads: "The Department of Nationality and Immigration shall issue an order for deportation of an alien if he has no residence licence or if his residence licence has been expired. Such an alien may return to the country if he fulfills the conditions for entry in accordance with the provisions of law. "Based on the above provision, you were deported. However, you can appeal your deportation based on the second part of the above Article of law. It is advised you obtain further advise from a lawyer based in the UAE.
KNOW THE LAW
The Department of Nationality and Immigration shall issue an order for deportation of an expat if he has no residence permit or if his residence permit has been expired. However, he may return to the country if he fulfills the conditions for entry in accordance with the provisions of law.
Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United King. Full details of his firm on: www.amalawyers.com. Readers may e-mail their questions to: email@example.com or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, P.O Box 11243, Dubai.