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The Dodgy Real Estate Agent

im_estate_agent_complaintsThe months of August & September witnesses many new arrivals trailing the city looking for that perfect family home.  Gone are the days of the expat posting where one stepped of the plane into fully furnished accommodation.

Today most expats are usually given an allowance and told to look for a home – easier said than done – be prepared for days if not weeks viewing hot and dusty properties as many will have been left vacant over the summer with no air-conditioning on. Even to the most seasoned renter Dubai can be a nightmare.

Viewing and renting properties nearly all the times means dealing with real estate agents. Internet sites, news papers and notice boards are full of agents offering ‘Professional,Transparent and Quality services for their customers’. However,  more than often finding the agent that fits this description can be a challenge.

The most common problems that house-hunters find are:

  • Being shown a property which looks wonderful but is way over the budget
  • Being told to meet an agent at an address and the agent doesn’t bother to show up
  • Being shown the same property over and over again by different agents
  • The agent does turn up but has no keys!
  • Many agents are lazy and do not go out of their way to find you the perfect property but rather the one that will give the biggest commission

Be aware of agents pressurising you into signing quickly.  It is true that the rental market is definitely heating up and on many occasions after you tell the landlord you want to rent their property the price suddenly rises however, before you sign we strongly advise readers to ensure that you see all the correct documents relating to the landlord prior to signing a lease. Also, make sure your contract includes a solid maintenance agreement. Avoid getting emotionally attached to a property until the legal technicalities have been looked over. If your agent promises to do something for you, “I will get the landlord to repaint the villa,” get that promise in writing as once the agent gets their money you may not see them again.  Looking for a new home for your family is stressful and sometimes very time consuming. However, never fall in love with a dream property because you are running out of time as it may come with many issues. First work on the legal technicalities before you allow you heart to make a connection.

In 2012 there were a few cases where real estate agencies were subleasing properties and then disappeared with many tenants cheques. It is important to check with RERA if the real estate agency is registered and if they have the legal right to sublease properties. There must also be a contract or Power of Attorney between the landlord and the real-estate agency stating that the real-estate agency can manage his property and collect rent under their name.

Many times the land-lord lives abroad so check that they have appointed a power of attorney (POA), & ensure that they have the necessary authority to accept the checks and deal with any problems they may arise.

Working with relocations  companies such as Move One Inc takes away the stress of moving to a new country as their consultants have years of knowledge and experience in dealing with Dubai landlords and the challenges involved.  After you have found the perfect home they can help you with connection to electricity, water, Internet etc

We recommend that you visit the government website for more details on renting a property and to seek legal advice if you are unsure. Never believe everything you hear or see, take time to investigate and try your best to be vigilant at every step of the rental process.

Quotes from house hunters over the last year

Curt Clements –  “I looked at 50 properties and the agent didn’t turn up for 60% of them and when they did show some did not have the keys and the properties were dirty with maintenance issues and the garden had died due to the water being off all summer and landlords were not interested in replanting grass etc.”

Heather – ‘Our agent was constantly showing us villas that were way over our budget

Cara – ‘My agent promised the villa would be cleaned thoroughly when we moved in but their version of cleaning and mine are very different!’

With the rental market booming once more the dirty tricks of the real-estate agent are constantly hitting the headlines.  Click here to read a recent article of this topic in Gulf News

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