How can you rent homes in the capital? Our expert tells all

From mould issues to reputable real estate portals, District Real Estate’s director of business development, Alan Kaye, answers your questions

Alan_Abu Dhabi week

Q. Can you trust property portals? I heard that some tenants contacted agents to view a specific property, but when they met the agent they were shown a different property at a higher price and were told that the other one was already leased. Is this common and are there other scams that I should look out for?

A. The portals and the reputable real estate companies in Abu Dhabi, such as District, work extremely hard to try to ensure that listings on portals are as accurate as possible.

However, there are companies that deliberately list properties that do not exist with suspiciously low prices or inaccurate information.

At the beginning of 2016, the municipality introduced new laws to regulate the real estate market and, in particular, register real estate companies.

The reputable companies are registered and I would suggest that prospective tenants ensure that they only deal with one of these companies.

Q. Every year we have to pay a renewal fee for a new lease contract. Is it legal and what is it for?

A. It is legal for an agent or landlord to charge a renewal fee. The amount of the fee is normally included in the lease contract, which you would have signed when you rented the property.

There is work involved in issuing a new lease, which may well include negotiations, preparation of reports, and so on, but the fee should not be extortionate and is normally around AED 1,500.

Q. We moved into a new apartment in a new building just over a year ago. Two months ago we noticed that mould was appearing on various walls and on the ceilings. We complained to our landlord and they sent someone in to treat it but it has returned. We are really concerned for our health. What can we do?

A. Mould can be a big problem, even in new buildings, if they were not given time to dry out properly.

The climate and high humidity also encourage mould growth.

It needs to be treated by a specialist company and unfortunately many landlords just send someone to brush it off and paint over it.

I suggest that you write to your landlord advising them that you will be forced to leave unless it is dealt with properly by a specialist company.

You may also want to arrange a specialist report yourself to send to your landlords.

They are legally obligated to provide a property in a suitable and safe condition, which is clearly not the situation in this case.

Q. This is our second year living in our villa but we found last winter that the water was too cold to shower and we do not want this problem again next winter. The maintenance company came on numerous occasions but could not fix it. What do you suggest that we can do?

A. I guess that this is not a problem at the moment with the hot weather that we have been having!

I suggest that you contact an independent plumber to check your water system and give you an estimate for the cost of repairs.

You should then send this estimate to the landlord or management company and request that they carry out what is required.

If the landlord cannot or will not, then you will have to pay for the repair yourself and charge it to the landlord.

Q. With the current drop in rental prices, is it possible for an existing tenant to bring this up and ask for an adjustment on the current rate?

A. When you sign a lease agreement it is a legally binding document between two parties, normally for a year, and cannot be changed by either the landlord or tenant.

It is also registered at the municipality via the Tawtheeq.

I would suggest that you gather your evidence and seek to renegotiate the rent to a lower amount next year.

This article was supplied by a third party and does not reflect the views of Abu Dhabi World. To find out more, visit: districtuae.com

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