How to Solve Property Disputes in Dubai


October 11, 2018

The real estate market is one of the most important industries in Dubai. Due to recent price fluctuation and many changes in policies and laws, there has been an increase in landlord-tenant property disputes. One of the most common complaints is related to unfair rental increases, which go against the RERA laws in Dubai. Occasionally though, landlords are forced to file complaints against their tenants. This is due to a breach of contract or an issue covered in the lease agreement.

 

The starting point

It would be naive to think that you will never have to go to court or file an official complaint. Knowledge is power, which is why it’s important to understand your options before you need them. If and when a property dispute arises, you will know what to do. 

Before you decide to officially file a complaint, we highly recommend that you first study your tenancy contract. Check and see if there are any clauses that can settle your complaint immediately. If you can't find any answers there, your next step should be to speak to your tenant directly. As difficult as it may be, strive to have an amicable and friendly conversation. This is the best way to try to come to an understanding. Reaching a settlement with your tenant is way easier, faster, and cheaper than going through the legal process. This is especially important if you have previously cultivated a good landlord-tenant relationship.

If the dispute can't be solved because your tenant refuses to leave, or because he or she has decided to skip their payment, then you have exhausted all possible options. At this point, your next step is to file an official complaint with the Rent Disputes Settlement Center, at the Dubai Land Department. The center was created to help resolve problems between landlords and tenants. Also, to serve as the judicial arm of the Dubai Land Department.

 

Filing the complaint

woman talking to a disgruntled couple that wants to file a complaint

You will need to bring in the following documents when you file your rental dispute. Bring both the original and a photocopy of each. 

  • Passport and Visa
  • Emirates ID
  • Ejari certificate
  • Original tenancy contract
  • Recent DEWA bills
  • Rental deposit slip
  • Copies of checks issued to the landlord
  • Title deed 
  • Copies of any text messages, emails, or other kinds of relevant communication between tenant and landlord regarding the dispute at hand
  • Any other documentation that can help support your case

It will certainly help if you have an Arabic copy of these documents. If not, there may be a need to get a certified translation which will slow down the process. Once you have all of your papers ready, head to the RDC. Staff members will help you fill out your complaints, and for a fee, translate any remaining necessary documents into Arabic. You will be asked additional questions regarding your dispute, in order to formally process it.

 

Processing cost

As always, taking drastic legal measures can be costly. The fee is about 3.5% of the annual rent of the property. It must be at least 500 AED and not exceed 20000 AED.  There are also additional costs to have your documents translated. As of the writing of this article, the cost was around 210 AED, though it may have increased since then. There are also additional administration costs, which will set you back an additional 110 AED.

 

What happens next?

woman in a purple shirt sits with her hands folded while a man wearing a suit sits across from her ready to file a lawsuit

The Arbitration Department is the first out of four departments in the legal process of handling a rental dispute. They will try to reach a decision within 15 business days. If the disputants are unable to reach a settlement through arbitration, a lawsuit will need to be filed. A decision will then be issued within 30 business days. Once the decision has been issued, it will be made effective unless any of the disputants file an appeal. However, that is only if the annual rent value on the tenancy contract is worth over 100,000 AED.

Once the appeal’s decision has been made, it will be enforced by the Execution Department, and it can no longer be challenged or repealed. 

 

Presenting the case

For each of the steps, RERA will assign a date and time for you to go and present your case. Be aware that even if you’re on time for your appointment, there might still be a long line of disputants, and you may have to wait for several hours.

If the committee decides that, for some reason, a decision can’t be reached on that day, or if the documents are insufficient and need to be procured, you will need to schedule another appointment. Unfortunately, the case may take weeks or even months to be solved. You can track the status of your case here. 

Because of the length of time, as well as all the expenses incurred, only submit a formal complaint once you have exhausted the other options. In fact, at any point before the court date, you can still try to reach an out-of-court settlement with your opponent. If you successfully reach an agreement before the case date, neither you nor your opponent has to attend the hearing. If no one shows up, the court automatically assumes that there was an out of court settlement. Therefore, the case will be considered closed.

Instead of having to form a relationship between you and your tenant, consider working with Blueground. We are a property management company that handles every aspect of your investment. You'll never have to worry about difficult tenants or arranging court dates. We rent out your apartment from you so that you can maintain a stress-free passive income. Let us handle the rest.


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