Lower rents have definitely given a breather to tenants in Dubai but a new menace is cropping up. Many tenants, who wish to vacate, are facing difficulties in getting the refund of their security deposits, which they had to pay to the landlord.
Real estate companies confirm that there are cases where tenants are complaining that landlords are forfeiting their security deposit to make up for the lost rental yields.
“What we’ve experienced are tenants having a challenging time getting their deposits back; some are waiting as long as three months. While the responsibility of deposit cheques recovery is up to the tenant, we inevitably get involved since clients do come back to us for help on the issue. We assisted at least one client with a deposit cheque recovery,” Leah James, Manager-Residential Sales & Leasing, Barsha Office of Better Homes told Emirates 24|7.
According to some experts, this is not a new problem in the rental market but yes, the current environment seems to have aggravated it.
“This is nothing new. Landlords have been doing this all the time, but, yes, it does appear to be getting worse,” Charles Neil, CEO of Landmark Properties confirmed.
However, some experts in the industry believe that this is not the case. “Security deposit is refundable only subject to any damage caused by the tenant or in the event there are any outstanding dues. Security deposit has nothing to do with lost rental yields,” Vineet Kumar, Head of Business Development- Dubai at Asteco Property Management said.
For those tenants who have been at the receiving end and are struggling to get their money back, Neil has a word of advice.
“As a last resort you can now go to the Land Department Rent Tribunal and make a complaint if you feel you have been unfairly treated.
“To avoid such a problem occurring in the first place, we recommend you lease a property that is property managed and has been registered on the new RERA Ejari system, so that the property management company can check the unit out before you move in and when you move out, and agree with you that any payment out of the deposit is to cover repairs caused by any damage done by the tenant, after taking into account ordinary wear and tear.”