Dubai: Do tenants have to pay cost of wear and tear when moving out of apartment?

KT reader asks whether they will have to forfeit their security deposit

by

Ashish Mehta

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Published: Sun 26 Nov 2023, 8:09 AM

Last updated: Sun 26 Nov 2023, 10:48 PM

Question: I have been living in a rented apartment in Dubai for the last five years and I plan to vacate it shortly. Some bathroom fittings and other fixtures have come loose as a result of normal usage. Would I be expected to bear the cost of repairing these? Will I forfeit my security deposit? If the real estate company decides to charge me for it, and I think it's unfair, how do I contest it?

Answer: As you are residing in a rented apartment in Dubai, the provisions of Law No. 26 of 2007 Regulating the Relationship Between Landlords and Tenants in the Emirate of Dubai are applicable.

In Dubai, it is an obligation of a landlord to maintain and repair any breakdowns in fixtures and fittings of rented premises unless it is agreed in the tenancy contract that the tenant will undertake the maintenance and repair works of a rented apartment. This is in accordance with Article 16 of the Dubai Rent Law, which states, “Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, a Landlord shall, during the term of the lease contract, be responsible for the real property maintenance works and for repairing any breakdown or defect that affects the tenant's full intended use of the real property.”

Furthermore, it is the responsibility of a tenant to hand over a rented apartment to a landlord in good condition except for normal wear and tear. This is under Article 21 of the Dubai Rent Law, which states, “Upon expiry of the term of a lease contract, the tenant must surrender possession of the real property to the landlord in the same condition in which the tenant received it at the time of entering into the lease contract, except for ordinary wear and tear or any damage sustained due to reasons beyond the tenant's control. Where a dispute between the parties arises in this regard, it shall be referred to the Tribunal to issue its decision on the same."

A landlord should return the security deposit to a tenant which has been collected by a landlord at the time of entering into a tenancy contract. A landlord may deduct a portion of the security deposit for any amount which is due by a tenant to a landlord. This is in accordance with Article 20 of the Dubai Rent Law, which states, “When entering into a lease contract, a landlord may collect from the tenant a security deposit for the purpose of maintenance of the real property upon the expiry of the lease contract. The landlord must refund this deposit or the balance thereof to the tenant upon expiry of the lease contract."

Based on the aforementioned provisions of law, it is assumed that the tenancy contract which you have with your landlord does not mention a condition stating that you are liable to maintain the repair works of fixtures and fittings of the rented apartment. In this event, you are not liable to bear any expenses related to repairing bathroom fittings as you have mentioned the fittings are loosened due to regular use and it may be termed as ‘reasonable wear and tear’.

Therefore, while you vacate the rented apartment your landlord may not have the right to deduct a portion of your security deposit amount towards repairs of fittings of the bathroom.

If your landlord demands or deducts a portion of your security deposit towards the repairs of bathroom fittings you may file a complaint with the Dubai Rental Dispute Centre and the Centre may decide whether the damage to the fitting in the bathroom of the rented apartment is due to reasonable wear and tear or otherwise as stated in aforementioned Article 21 of the Dubai Rent Law.

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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