Dubai tenants still unprotected?
Ejari and Tawtheeq are aimed at ensuring rental protection but many unknowing tenants continue to fall victim to fraud...
August 22, 2012 11:19 by M. Aldalou
As fraudulent transactions and rental disagreements continue behind shady curtains, the everlasting ‘hate relationship’ between tenants, landlords and property developers in the UAE sees no end in sight.
The Dubai and Abu Dhabi land departments have both made it mandatory for all leasable properties, whether commercial, industrial or residential, to be registered on Ejari and Tawtheeq, respectively. The online registration portals were created with the aim of reducing fraudulent contracts, disputes and unclear agreements between landlords and tenants in both cities. However, despite the continued efforts, many tenants continue to fall through the cracks, as they remain unaware of the exact regulations and their legal rights.
Since the initiation of said portals, the Real Estate Regulatory Authority announced that there will be ‘no exceptions made for any leasable commercial, industrial or residential property and that failure to properly register will lead to penalties and fines’.
According to the Dubai Land Department, when they were quoted by Emirates24|7, it is the duty of the landlord to pay for the registration fees as well as register the tenancy contract but several tenants reportedly confessed that they were tricked by their agents/landlords into registering and paying the fees themselves.
“I was totally unaware on who has to pay the fee. My landlord told me to pay since I would need the registered contract for any official work and so I paid it,” said Anshuman Patel, quoted by the daily paper.
Spotting fraud in every sector of a country is inevitable but what Kipp finds surprising is the Land Department’s arrangement that allows tenants to go through the process themselves if the landlord is unwilling or fails to do so. While some tenants may be relieved at the idea of being able to take charge of the steering wheel, Kipp believes that if the number of tricksters is to be reduced, then it must be made impossible for tenants to be fooled into registering or coughing up from their own pockets.
Although the rate of rental disputes in the country have witnessed an applaudable reduction, there is still a long way to go before UAE tenants can feel entirely protected. Both Ejari and Tawtheeq, with efforts from the land departments and RERA, stand as the beacons of hope for further improvement.
“First is the transparency, the majority of disputes between tenants and landlords because of unclear agreements, changes in the terms and conditions that happens after signing the contract and uncertainty about the legality of the tenancy agreements,” said Ali Khaled Al Hashmi, Tawtheeq’s project manager, according to a report by The National.
Approximately half of the leasable properties in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi have been successfully registered but Kipp is still concerned about the fate of the other half that remain vulnerable to foul-play. Have you been a victim to any rental disputes, confusion or fraud?