How to Get Your Rental Deposit Back
Each year, thousands of seasoned expats either move house within Dubai or leave the Emirate altogether. One of the downsides of being an expat tenant is that we can often be exploited, especially in the case of having to leave Dubai in a hurry. Some, but not all landlords are unscrupulous and we all know that landlords here in Dubai can be quite unique. So to ensure you get your deposit back here are some helpful tips and advice you can follow. After all, many tenants have had little or no choice but to improve the landlord’s property, at their own expense! Why risk losing your deposit as well?
Issues often arise throughout the tenancy, especially where maintenance services have been promised and yet not forthcoming. There are however, things you can do to limit the damage. The first tip is for right at the very beginning, get everything in writing. Contracts are often very simple and very limited as to the information they contain. Make sure any extra agreements are added before signing and the contract is registered with the RERA’s online portal called Ejari.
Deal with reputable agents! Ask your community and or relocator for advice and recommendations. Often your relocation company has an affiliation with a reputable realtor. Take photographs and make sure a proper handover is done and signed by both parties. Make sure you keep a copy of the tenancy agreement and receipts for the rent and deposit. Keep a log of issues, repairs and any receipts where you have had to repair, replace or maintain things throughout the tenancy. At the end of every year make your landlord aware of the costs to date.
The next piece of advice is key. Time! Give yourself time, if you can, to complete your move. Expect to move out of the property a couple of weeks prior to your move and into a hotel, serviced apartment or friend’s sofa. Thus giving you time to ensure the property is handed back in a timely and tidy fashion, clear DEWA and other bills. Again, photograph the property and ensure it is clean and tidy, giving the Landlord no reason to try and keep your deposit.
Your landlord should give back the security deposit immediately after you have vacated the property. Normally he has to provide you an invoice of his expenses, if he wants to reduce the amount of the security deposit paid back to you, but it is not mandatory. So, it is always better to be clear about the return of the deposit in the rental contract at the beginning. If you have any problems regarding your tenancy you can complain to RERA at the Land Department. Here is the link to the RERA laws and here are some words of wisdom from RERA;
All Dubai tenants should be familiar with Law No. (26). of 2007 which is the Law governing the relationship between the Landlord and the Tenant.
Tenants should also remember, the property is the asset of the Owner, it must be looked after. When you have registered the Tenancy contract with RERA, and if you have a problem and need intervention or a dispute arises, RERA can assist, but only if the lease is registered.
The final piece of advice – always act respectfully, even if your landlord doesn’t. Never enter in to a war of words. Simply state your case and then get on with life until your tenancy comes to a natural end. If the landlord refuses to give you the money back, speak to RERA in the first instance. They may be able to help. If the agent has the deposit, take your receipt with your file and knock on his door. The trick in a tenancy is to keep good records. In the face of evidence the landlord will hopefully back down, especially if they are simply using your deposit as part of their income.