Overseas property owners are allowed to open savings bank account in the UAE, but a majority of them are not aware of such a facility.
In most cases, non-resident owners authorize their property agents to collect and cash their rent cheque, which the agents wire transfer to owners overseas account. Opening a local bank account can help reduce the chances of landlord or tenant being duped as the tenant will issue a local cheque in the landlord’s name and not in his agent’s name.
In the Shamyana Entertainment case, tenants issued the cheque in the agent's name and in the landlord's name.
Asif K, an owner of an apartment in the Greens, who resides in the UK, said: “I come to the UAE once in a year on a short visit and hence I never bothered to ask the banks here if I can open any bank account. I was of the view that one needs a residency visa to open an account here.”
He admits that his agent used to take the rent cheques in his own name and deposit it in his own account.
"Although I have never had any problems with him, but to be on the safer side now I plan to open an account.”
Emirates 24|7 checked with a few leading banks in the UAE who said that a savings account can be opened by non-UAE residents but they have to personally visit the branch with the original passport and visit visa. The account holders have to maintain a minimum monthly balance in their account to keep the account operational.
In the wake of the Shamyana scam, experts have advised tenants to issue cheques only in favour of the landlord and not in the name of a agent/brokerage firm unless they verify their license from the Department of Economic Development and Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera). As informed earlier, a company has to furnish a bank guarantee of Dh5 million to get a property management license.
Moreover, Rera chief Marwan bin Ghalita too has reiterated that the people should deal only with licensed companies and register the contracts on Ejari. Rera has also confirmed to this website it is investigating a number of companies unauthorized to manage and lease properties of others.