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Property developer wins Dh230,000 realty lawsuit

Lawyers convince Appeal Court to dismiss case of European couple who lodged lawsuit one year late

Image Credit: Antonin Kelian Kallouche/Gulf News Archives
The contract said that the flat the couple had bought at Dubai Sports City in 2008 was 693 square feet, but in the title deed issued in 2015, the registered area was only 560 square feet.
Gulf News

Dubai: A European couple recently lost their Dh230,000 lawsuit against a property developer following a dispute over a flat they had purchased at Dubai Sports City in 2008.

The claimants took legal action against the property developer after alleging that they had purchased an office flat for Dh1.6 million after signing a contract which mentioned that the unit was around 693 square feet.

The couple paid the amount in full and when they collected the title deed from the Dubai Land Department (DLD) in 2015, they discovered that the registered area was only 560 square feet.

Alleging that they were sold the unit which was 19 per cent smaller than that mentioned in the contract signed in 2008, the couple lodged a lawsuit before the Dubai Property Court.

In May 2017, the primary Property Court ordered the property developer to pay the couple an amount of Dh230,000 the value of which, according to a court-appointed engineering expert, was equivalent to the reduced area.

The property developer’s lawyers, Abdullah Eisa and Tarek Saad of Baker and McKenzie Habib Al Mulla Advocates, appealed the primary judgement and asked the Property Appeal Court to overturn the ruling and dismiss the lawsuit.

“The primary court should have applied Article 524 of the Civil Transactions Law and dismissed the claimants’ lawsuit due to time lapse. The claimants took legal action one year after they had collected the unit … and the type of their lawsuit was a suit to have the price reduced. The developer executed the contract [signed with the plaintiffs], according to which the agreed upon area was the total area [of the unit] … and at the time of signing the contract, the existent laws did not stipulate specifying the net area in the contract,” lawyer Eisa argued.

Meanwhile, lawyer Saad mentioned in the developer’s counter lawsuit before the Appeal Court: “The primary judgement is baseless and unfounded and the appellate court should overturn it. The court-appointed engineering expert had disregarded the papers and documents that we provided to the primary court and neglected them inexplicably. The expert’s report contained too many contradictions and inconsistencies … he didn’t include in his report the percentage of the unit’s area as part of the shared area.”

The primary court should have dismissed the lawsuit, according to lawyer Saad, who mentioned that the plaintiffs took legal action more than a year after they had taken possession of the flat.

“The plaintiffs remained silent and didn’t take any legal action for more than a year … that by itself was a proof that they had agreed to the area of the unit at the time when they collected it,” mentioned lawyer Eisa.

Gulf News obtained a copy of the appellate court ruling, according to which, the three-judge bench decided that the European plaintiffs do not deserve to be paid the value of the reduced area since they had not objected at the time when they collected the flat and they lodged their lawsuit after more than a year.

The Property Appeal Court overturned the primary judgement and dismissed the couple’s lawsuit.

The litigants have appealed the appellate judgement and the case is now being handled by the Cassation Court.