Dubai: Real estate agents in Dubai are finding new ways to impose rental hikes.
Mohammad Nasser of Jumeirah Lake Towers found it out the hard way last month when he was asked to pay 60 per cent more than what he had been paying for his three-bedroom apartment over the past two years.
The 50-year old American citizen with mixed Kuwaiti–Lebanese parentage had paid a single cheque lump sum amount of Dh250,000 for a period of two years. His contract expires this July and he isn’t amused at the prospect of either having to move out or pay Dh200,000 for another year.
“I was hoping my landlord would be considerate towards me for being such a good tenant, having paid such a huge amount at one go, but my hopes have been dashed,” says Nasser who owns a security systems company.
To make matters less comforting for Nasser, there hasn’t been any written notice yet, neither from his non-resident Kenyan landlord nor from his agent, who, according to him, informed him about the hike only verbally. “They are playing it smart as I have no evidence of their claims to present to the Rera,” Nasser says.
According to the Rera website the maximum rent a landlord can increase is 20 per cent for a property that’s registered more than 55 per cent growth in market value. As per Rera’s rent calculator, Nasser is entitled to pay zero increase in rent. The website states that the current rent for his JLT apartment is Dh110,000 to Dh150,000 per year. This officially means his apartment shouldn’t attract any increase in rent for at least another year.
However, for other Dubai residents, the concern is not just the spike in rents.
Paula Tavener, who heads the HR department of a banking and finance company, was asked by Rocky Real Estate to pay one per cent of her new rent towards renewal charges. This was after the Umm Suqeim 1 resident paid a five per cent increase in rent in order to stay for a third year. Her question was simple: “Why would I pay an extra Dh1,800, having already agreed to pay a hundred times that for the year?”
The company in turn confirmed that since January the industry has started charging one per cent of the rent or Dh500, whichever is higher.