Dubai: While putting in security deposits at the time of signing a new lease agreement is standard practice in the UAE, what can you do if you are unable to get the deposit back when you are moving out of the apartment or villa? A Gulf News reader from Abu Dhabi wrote in, sharing his experience and asking about his rights.
He asked: “I was a tenant with a leading property agent for five years. For the initial three years, the property was managed directly by the owner (individual) and later the ownership was transferred to a financial organisation. I had paid Dh3,000 as security deposit with the first property management and later when it was transferred to the new ownership, I paid additional Dh2,000 as deposit, since it was a requirement.
“I hold a Tawtheeq (registered lease agreement) that mentions a total of Dh5,000 as my security deposit from the new ownership. However, after vacating the apartment they refused to pay the initial Dh3,000 since it was paid to the previous landlord by me and they will only refund Dh2,000.
“My question is – how can I get the complete refund? I have been speaking to the new ownership and they advised me to go to the owner to get back the Dh3,000. How is it that they raised this only after I vacated the property? I renewed my contract twice with them and they never mentioned this issue.”
Gulf News raised the query with Ahmed Elnaggar, Managing Partner of Elnaggar & Partners law firm, who said: “In my opinion, the financial organisation is at default by not returning the full security deposit amount to the tenant. By acquiring the property, it accepted all the liabilities over it.
“Also, since the tenancy contract was renewed twice, mentioning the deposit as Dh5,000, the financial organisation has confirmed being aware of the security deposit and they should return the full amount. The questioner should file a case before the relevant committee in Abu Dhabi to get the balance and claim as well an interest on it, along with the legal expenses and court fees. Such amounts should be payable at the end of the case by the financial organisation.”
Since the tenancy contract was renewed twice, mentioning the deposit as Dh5,000, the financial organisation has confirmed being aware of the security deposit and they should return the full amount.
How to file a rental dispute case in Abu Dhabi
Rent Dispute Settlement Committees fall under the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD) and in order to file a case you need to first visit an Enjaz centre. Enjaz centres are the customer happiness centres for ADJD and provide services like typing and filing cases, receiving court judgements for non-criminal cases, attesting transactions, entering data for court services and notarising public transactions.
If you wish to file a rent dispute case as a tenant, you are required to visit a centre with the following documents and details:
1. The registered lease contract (Tawtheeq)
2. Landlord’s name, mobile number and address.
3. Your Emirates ID and address details.
According to the ADJD call centre – 02 6512222 – once you have submitted the necessary documents and details of your complaint, you will receive a case number within 24 to 48 hours from ADJD.