There could be a simple solution to your property dilemma

From pest control to expat wills, District Real Estate’s director of business development, Alan Kaye, answers your property queries

Alan_Abu Dhabi week

Q. I have an issue with my landlord as he is not returning my security deposit, nor the deposit that I paid for gas and water. He is not responding to emails or phone calls and neither is the property management company. What options do I have to try and get these deposits returned?

A.  I assume that there is no dispute and that you have left the property in a similar condition to how you found it, allowing for fair wear and tear.

Unfortunately, some landlords consider deposits given to them as non-returnable. I suggest that you send an email to both the landlord and property management company stating clearly that you wish the deposits to be returned to you within, say, seven days failing which you will consider taking legal action. If this fails to elicit a response then you can open a case at the commercial court. The cost is not high and it is something that you can do yourself.

Q. The lease on our new apartment started in the middle of last month but after ten days my water and electricity are still not connected so we cannot move in. We are incurring extra expense, as we have had to stay in a hotel. What can we do?

A. The municipality recently changed the system of issuing Tawtheeq and connecting ADDC (water and electricity) online. This has resulted in numerous delays for many people who are in the same position as you. It is also difficult to find out how long the process will take. I can only suggest that you continue to pressure the various parties involved and request your landlord to extend the lease at the end of the lease term by the number of days you have lost. It is unlikely, I’m afraid, that you will be reimbursed for your hotel stay.

Q. I have just noticed a cockroach in our kitchen. Is the landlord or management company responsible for pest control or is it my responsibility?

A. In an apartment, landlords generally are liable for conditions outside an apartment and the tenant is responsible for what goes on inside, including roaches. If it is an isolated incident and not a major infestation of the building, it is down to the tenant. In a villa, the tenant is responsible for both the inside and outside. I would recommend that you employ the services of a professional pest control company. The villa should be treated before you move in and then at least every four months. Make sure that the company is fully regulated and licenced.

Q. I have recently purchased a property in Abu Dhabi for my wife, two children and myself. I understand that should I die, then the property would be sold and the proceeds distributed as per sharia law. I have a will in my home country leaving everything to my wife and children. will this be valid here in the uae? 

A. The will that you have made in your home country is not valid in the UAE and you are right to be concerned. However, the Abu Dhabi government has recently announced that it will now be possible for expats to register a will at the new Abu Dhabi Registry. The will can be in English and the cost is expected to be AED 500. This is something that I would recommend to all expat property owners.

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