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Landlord can demand compensation if contract is breached by tenant

Landlord demands three months’ rent from tenant

Gulf News

Six months ago, I rented a flat in Dubai for two years. My tenancy contract expires in September 2019. I paid the rent in postdated cheques. A month back, I resigned from my job as I need to return to my country for immediate treatment. I informed my landlord that I wanted to cancel the tenancy contract. I showed him my residency visa cancellation papers along with the air ticket to my home country. He informed me that I have to pay three months’ rent for terminating the contract prematurely, or wait till he finds another tenant. He also said that only 50 per cent of the security deposit will be returned to me. The tenancy contract mentions that in case it is terminated by the tenant, the landlord has the right not to return the security deposit. As per the Dubai rent law, who is responsible for maintenance — the landlord or the tenant?

What will be my position if I cannot reach an amicable settlement with the landlord and decide to file a rental case?

The tenancy contract is binding on the parties and no one may terminate the same unless with the consent of the other party. Therefore, I would advise the questioner to solve this matter with the landlord amicably and try to pay him a compensation for the termination of contract. I do not advise the questioner to file a rental case in this regard as the judgement may not be better than the offer which he got from the property owner. As for the deposit amount with the landlord, the landlord shall return the amount on the basis that it was available with him against the deliberate damages which might be caused by the tenant. The maintenance is the responsibility of the landlord unless otherwise agreed on. Finally, the Dubai rental law does not give the landlord the right to hold the security deposit in case the tenant breaches the tenancy contract and what is mentioned in the tenancy contract in this regard will be considered as against the rental law.

Pay during suspension

What are the conditions under which an employer can suspend an employee? I was suspended due to a crime that was not related to work. It was a bounced cheque case for which I was fined, not jailed, by a court. I paid the fine. Three months ago, my employer suspended me and did not pay my salary for more than two months. In my offer letter, it is mentioned that in case an employee commits a crime, the employer has the right to terminate his services immediately. Do I have the right to file a case with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation?

Article 112 of the UAE Labour Law as amended by Federal Law No. 12 of 1986 states that a worker may be temporarily suspended if he is involved in a crime related to life, property, honour, honesty, or if he is involved in a labour strike. The suspension period shall commence on the date of the notification of the incident to the competent authorities and until the issuance of a decision thereby in this regard. The worker shall not be entitled to his wage during the said suspension period. If a decision is issued acquitting the worker or for not prosecuting him, the worker shall be reinstated and paid the full wage for the suspension period, if such suspension is arbitrary by the employer. The employee/worker should be reinstated and compensated for the entire period if the suspension is established to be on malicious basis on the part of the employer. Such entitlement of the pay purports that the suspension is malicious. The onus of proof of such malice rests on the employee/worker. It is established by the Supreme Court that the evaluation of malicious suspension is left to the discretion of the Court of Merits, without any review once its judgement is built on sound permissible grounds duly supported by documents. Therefore, the employer is not legally permitted to suspend the employee upon the charging of a crime which is committed outside the workplace, unless it is one of the offences set out in Article 112 mentioned above. In case there is no amicable settlement with the employer, the questioner should contact the Ministry of Labour (Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation) to file a complaint and may ask the ministry to refer the complaint to the competent court.

— Questions answered by advocate Mohammad Ebrahim Al Shaiba of Al Shaiba Advocates and Legal Consultants.