Dubai: Can real estate company deduct money from the tenant’s security deposit?

KT readers wants to know if it's legal for the real estate company to charge the tenant for repainting the flat

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Ashish Mehta

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Published: Sun 31 Dec 2023, 9:44 AM

Last updated: Sun 14 Jan 2024, 8:12 AM

Question: I stayed in a one-bed apartment in Dubai for four years and vacated it recently. While following up on my security deposit, the real estate company said it would deduct Dh800 as charges for repainting the flat. Is this legal? If not, how do I address it? What is the procedure?

Answer: This case falls under the provisions of Law No (26) of the year 2007 Regulating Relation Between Lessors and Lessee of Property in the Emirate of Dubai.

It may be noted that it is legal in Dubai, for a landlord (or his authorised representative) to obtain security deposits from tenants at the beginning of the lease for maintenance of the leased property upon termination of the lease period. However, the landlord (or his authorised representative) is obliged to ‘refund such security or remaining part thereof’ to the tenant upon termination of the lease. This follows Article (20) of the Dubai Tenancy Law, which reads as follows:

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“The lessor may, upon concluding the lease, receive from the lessee a security to ensure the maintenance of the property upon termination of the lease period, provided the lessor shall refund such security or remaining part thereof to the lessee upon termination of lease.”

Therefore, the concerned real estate management company may seek to make deductions on account of any maintenance works on the leased property, post termination of the lease on the property.

You may also refer to the provisions of Article (21) of the Dubai Tenancy Law, whereby – upon termination of the lease, it is the duty of the tenant to hand over the leased property to the landlord in the condition in which the tenant had received the property, save for normal wear and tear or damage caused by things beyond the tenant’s control. However, if there arises a dispute in this regard, then such dispute may be referred to the Rental Disputes Centre in Dubai. The said Article (21) reads as follows:

“Lessee shall, upon termination of the lease, hand over the property to the lessor in the condition in which he received it at the time of leasing except for normal tear and wear or whatever was out of his control. In case of conflict between the parties in this regard, the issue shall be referred to the committee to decide thereon.”

The term ‘committee’ is defined in the Dubai Tenancy Law as 'the judicial committee competent to settle disputes between lessors and lessees'. At present, RDC is the judicial committee authorised to settle disputes between landlords and tenants, or in other words between lessors and lessees.

You may also peruse through the terms and conditions for maintenance of leased property as outlined in the tenancy/lease agreement.

After considering the provisions of the Dubai Tenancy Law and the provisions of your tenancy/ lease agreement, if you still think that the deductions are unjustified, you may try to resolve the matter amicably by way of discussions with the owner of the apartment. If you are not able to reach a settlement with the owner of the apartment, you may then proceed to refer the matter to the RDC for resolution of the matter.

You may register your complaint at the RDC’s website to initiate the necessary proceedings. Upon such registration, you will receive further information and instructions on the next steps. However, it would be advisable on your part to consult with a legal practitioner in Dubai, who may provide you with the necessary advice and assistance on the matter.

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: news@khaleejtimes.com or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.

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