Sub-letting scams: 2009 case hints tenants will have to 'pay to stay'

32 families agreed to pay half remaining rent to landlord after Rent Committee asked them to vacate

A 2009 victim of a rent scam in Dubai, duped in a similar modus operandi adopted by Shamyana Entertainment and other companies, told Emirates 24|7 that the Dubai Municipality Rent Committee had passed a decision in favour of the landlord and had asked tenants to vacate their apartments, in that case.

However, the victim, who asked not to be named, but still stays in the same building to date, recalls that 32 families had agreed to pay half their remaining rent to the landlord, who then allowed them to stay.

Emirates 24|7 reported the scam in October 2009.

The victim paid Dh45,000 for a one-bed apartment to a company, which claimed it had the authority from the owner to sub-lease their apartments and collect rent on their behalf.

However, the broker vanished after taking the money, leaving the tenants in the lurch in less than two months after they moved into the apartments.

The landlord, a Dubai company, filed a case against the tenants in the municipality.

“They (landlord’s lawyer) argued they had leased the building to a company, who wanted the building for their own office staff.

“They said they were misrepresented and they had never authorised any sub-leasing,” the tenant recalls, adding, “At one of the hearings the rent committee asked to vacate our apartments.”

The families, the victim said, approached the landlord asking him not to evict them, but to work out a solution.

“With 32 families agreeing to stay in the building, the landlord asked us to give him monthly or quarterly cheques equal to half of the annual rent for the remaining months, which we paid.”

Last week, we reported that hundreds of landlords duped by two companies who had illegally sublet their apartments, as they took the annual rent from the sub-tenants in a single cheque.

On Monday, Syed Farid, a Pakistani expat, also claimed that a company to whom he paid Dh70,350 in a single cheque to rent an apartment in the Emaar Six Towers in Dubai Marina, had disappeared after cashing in the cheque.

Real Estate Regulatory Agency chief Marwan bin Ghalitha has already said people should deal with registered companies. Besides, the agency has made it mandatory to register all contracts on Ejari.

(Home page image courtesy Shutterstock)



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