Know your property rights direct from our expert

Thinking of buying an investment property? Worried about your rental rights? District Real Estate’s director of business development Alan Kaye answers your property queries

Q: I renewed the contract on my apartment last October. Unfortunately, I have now lost my job and my company has taken the terminal gratuity to pay back the rent, which they forwarded on my behalf to the landlord.

When I enquired of the landlord’s representative how much notice I needed to give he informed me that a new clause had been added to the lease that I would not receive any money back unless I found a new tenant.

He told me at the time that the lease was the same as I had previously signed, which had a two months’ notice and two months’ penalty clause if vacated. Is there anything that I can do?

A: My first question is to ask if you have actually read your lease to see if the new clause is in the lease that you signed.

If it is then there is little that you can do other than try to set up a meeting with the landlord to see if you can appeal to his better nature and at the same time try to find a new tenant.

There are number of free-to-advertise portals and notice boards that you could try plus ask around with your friends. At District Real Estate, we always advise tenants to read all documents and to fully understand what they are signing. Sadly, many say that they cannot be bothered and just sign!

Q: I paid one year’s rent upfront for an apartment that included internet, cleaning, water and electricity. I have just heard that the bank are about to foreclose on the building and I may have to vacate or agree new lease terms. I would like to stay until the end of my lease. Where do I stand?

A: It would seem that unfortunately you have rented an apartment that is considered by the municipality as illegal since if it were legal then the water and electricity from Abu Dhabi Distribution Company (ADDC) would be in your name and you would have also been issued with a Tawtheeq contract, which would have given you security of tenure.

I suggest that you try to negotiate with the bank once you have received notification from them.

Q: I bought a property off plan and the date for handover was supposed to be almost a year ago. I’ve already paid 40 percent of the total value. Is it possible for me to request a refund of monies paid to date?

A: I assume from your question that you purchased the property prior to the new law that came into force in January 2016. If that is the case then the developer does not have a legal obligation to return your money as per the law.

However, there may be clauses in your contract concerning completion dates, which may entitle you to a refund. I suggest that you carefully read your contract and try to negotiate with the developer.

If you had purchased the property under the new law then the developer has a legal obligation to complete within specified delivery dates (allowing for a six-month window). If these were not adhered to, you’d be entitled to request a refund.

Q: After a lot of searching, my wife and I found an apartment that we loved, and paid the security deposit. We signed the contract and handed over the rent cheques.

We’re now due to move in next week, but have just been told that the landlord has changed his mind and wants to void the contract and give us back our cheques. We’re both shocked and upset by this. Can the landlord do this and can we claim compensation?

A: I sympathise with your situation as exactly the same thing happened to a client of mine. Morally and legally this should not happen, but if a Tawtheeq contract has not yet been issued and the ADDC not transferred to yourself, there is very little that you can do.

The cost of taking any type of legal action for compensation would also be prohibitive. Unfortunately, sometimes one simply has to put issues down to bad luck.

If you have any property related queries, send them in to

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