Home renters in Dubai are calling for more tougher laws to regulate home lease contracts, particularly refunds of security deposits paid to landlords upon receiving the keys.
Indian expat Tom Bosco, 34, feels helpless about it.
“Authorities must tighten laws surrounding the issue. We are forced to forego our money because there’s nothing much we can do,” says Bosco, who paid AED3,000 security bond while renting a one-bedroom apartment in for AED45,000 2012. After moving out, he was then asked to sign a receipt form acknowledging he had received his deposit despite not getting any refunds.
“I am told I can get a portion of the deposit only after I sign their form. They are not ready to show me the break-up of expenses,” says Bosco whose apartment was located near Jebel Ali.
“There was no external or internal damage to the property yet the management staff came to my building, assessed it and said I had to pay for regular maintenance including a full painting before I could get any of the deposit. This is unlawful and was not mentioned in my contract.” he claimed.
According to complaints, landlords tend to charge normal wear and tear of properties to their tenants — before and after they settle in the apartments.
American Jason Brown, who recently moved out of a villa, claims that he too was not given his full deposit of AED20,000.
“The landlord who is a real estate developer in the project decided to keep Dh7,000 from my deposit towards wear and tear of the villa. This was unfair as the landlord had charged me for pre-existing conditions in the house like grout missing between two tiles, cracks on the ceiling, scratches on doors, water seepage to the walls. Ideally these are expenses which the landlord has to bear,” says Brown.
Dubai’s current laws on the matter says that a deposit should cover incidents such as damage due to negligence of tenant.
However, landlords too share their misery.
Ajay Mehra, owner of a 3-bedroom property in Jumeirah Lakes Tower says a tenant “put me me through hell before vacating,” claiming that the tenant did not return the complete set of keys, left the apartment in a big mess with cracks and scribbles on the wall.
“It cost me Dh5,000 so I did not return his deposit,” Mehra shares.
Dev Shukla, another landlord said his expat tenant did not even bother notifying him before vacating the apartment.
“Instead he emailed saying he was sending my house keys via courier as he had left. When I went to my place, a glass pane was broken, the house was in a mess with old furniture lying around. He had also not paid his last Dewa bill,” says the owner of the two-bedroom apartment in Dubailand area.