From property scams to purchasing off-plan, District Real Estate’s director of business development, Alan Kaye, answers your questions
Q: We keep reading that rents are going down but every property that we view seems to still be very expensive. We are looking for a four-bedroom house ideally with a garden in an expat area. Any suggestions?
A: Rents in almost all areas of Abu Dhabi have reduced from, say, two years ago by generally up to 15 percent. However, Abu Dhabi villas have always been relatively expensive since there are not that many villas available compared to, say, Dubai. I would suggest that you look at Al Reef where a four-bedroom villa can be found from AED 150,000 or Al Raha Gardens from around AED 170,000. Look out for a new development called West Yas due to be handed over later this year, which will feature four- and five bedroom villas on Yas Island at good prices.
Q: I have paid one cheque for a year’s rent but my company has just advised that I will be relocated after four months. How can I avoid a massive penalty?
A: This will depend on your lease contract. The terms to break the lease will be stated in the contract and can vary between landlords but the normal break clause in Abu Dhabi is two months’ notice and two months’ penalty, although note that some leases do not permit a break. I suggest that you check your lease and then set up a meeting with your landlord to try to negotiate the best outcome for yourself.
Q: I am about to rent a property but have been advised by my agent that a Tawtheeq is not currently available, although it will be in the future. Is it legal to rent this property and can I get into trouble?
A: A Tawtheeq is the contract from the municipality that ensures that a property conforms to its stated use so it will not, for instance, be issued where a landlord has illegally altered a villa. The Tawtheeq is also required for your own connection to Abu Dhabi Distribution Company (for water and electricity supply) and for sponsorship.
However, there is often a delay with issuing a Tawtheeq for new properties and instances do occur where there are administrative issues with the municipality on current properties. In these cases, a developer can issue a letter to confirm that the Tawtheeq will be issued in the future. This is perfectly legal.
Q: We have just rented an apartment and, talking to friends, it seems that people do not take out home insurance in the UAE. Is this correct and what would happen if there were a fire?
A: It would appear from the insurance industry that the amount of people who have home insurance in the UAE is exceptionally low, particularly as it is inexpensive. The actual building is insured by the landlord, but the contents of an apartment or villa need to be insured by the tenant. It is important to remember that if there were a fire, you would need to find the replacement cost not just of the contents but accommodation and incidental expenses.