How to avoid property problems in Abu Dhabi

From electrical faults to housing allowances, District Real Estate’s director of business development, Alan Kaye, answers your property queries

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Q. We moved into our villa one month ago and our A/C has stopped working. We were told that we have a full maintenance package so we called the company but they advised that the landlord had not paid for the current year and if they were to come we would have to pay ourselves. We have tried calling the landlord but without success. What should we do? It is very hot and we cannot sleep…

A. The landlord, by law, has a duty of care towards a tenant to provide a property fit for habitation and clearly, if the A/C is not working, this is not being met. I suggest that you send an email to the landlord advising him that you will be instructing the maintenance company to repair the A/C and that you expect to receive full reimbursement. I would further point out that when you rented the villa you were promised a full maintenance package and expect payment to be made to the maintenance company immediately.

Q. The lease on my apartment does not end for another three months and we are currently paying AED 200K for our three-bedroom apartment. This is fully covered by the housing allowance from my company, However, I have just been informed that my housing allowance for next year will be reduced to AED 180k. What can I do?

A.In the current economic climate, this is, unfortunately, something that is happening to many people. Negotiations for a new lease need to commence two months before lease end.

I would, therefore, suggest that you immediately write to your landlord explaining your predicament. You should also check on current prices in your vicinity and quote examples of the rentals of similar properties. Hopefully, your landlord will agree to a reduced rent.

Q. I have just moved into my apartment and I have found a number of electrical items not working, although the real estate company assured me that everything was fine before I moved in. What can I do?

A. Before taking formal possession of any property, tenants should insist on a move-in inspection, which would include checking that all items are working satisfactorily. If you have just moved in, I suggest you contact the real estate company and ask them if they have written proof that everything was satisfactory on move in. Also, check if electrical items are included in your maintenance package and if they are, then call the maintenance company. Check that all main switches are on and the fuses in the plugs are working; if they aren’t then you will need to contact a qualified tradesman. Note that some landlords specifically exclude electrical items and within the lease contract it states that they are ‘as seen’.

Q. We are very concerned as our landlord is a Qatari and we understand that he has just sold his property interests in the UAE including our villa. We do not know who is the new owner and we are worried that we will have to leave.

A. As per the recent government directive, Qatari nationals are no longer allowed to own property in the UAE. However, you are protected by UAE property law and the terms of your lease will continue with the new owners. Should they wish you to leave, then they will have to serve you with the correct notices by registered mail, giving you notice two months before the end of your lease.

If you have any property related queries, send them in to contactus@adwonline.ae

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