Security Deposit
Guidelines on how to get your security deposit back in the UAE Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Dubai: A former expat from India, who lived in Dubai two years ago, reached out to Gulf News claiming he is yet to receive the security deposit paid on his Dubai apartment.

The former expat Rahul Tandon said his efforts to get the security deposit back in full have been in vain. “My wife Anita and our twins vacated the apartment in October 2017. We relocated to India in January 2018. At the time of vacating the apartment, the landlord said he was deducting Dh3,000 from my total deposit amount of Dh5,000", he recalled.

According to Niraj Masand of Banke Properties, tenants have every right to get their security deposit back in full as long as the property is returned in the condition it was handed in.

He said: “That is the first and most important thing to do. Paint the apartment, ensure there are no cracks on the wall, scribbles on the wall, broken door knobs, missing lamp shades etc.”

Gulf News reached out Rahul's building manager who said : "If we have the original security deposit slip, the apartment is in good condition, we have no issues returning the deposit money."

How to get your security deposit back in full

Masand listed guidelines on what tenants need to do in order to get their security deposit in full.

Read your contract regarding maintenance

The law in Dubai states that the landlord is responsible for maintenance works during the term of the lease, and for repairing any defect that affects the use of the property. However, lease contracts often state that the tenant is responsible for minor maintenance (Dh200 or less), and the landlord is responsible for major maintenance work (Dh200 and more).

“If the lease does not include a clause on maintenance, the landlord is responsible to cover maintenance costs. However, the tenant still remains liable for any damage he / she causes to the property, and the landlord might deduct the repair costs from the security deposit,” explained Masand.

Keep records

Masand advised UAE residents to keep a record of everything from the time tenants move into the apartment – to any repairs carried out - during the tenancy - any personal costs incurred and finally what has been done upon moving out.

Repair the walls

The Banke Properties senior executive said before a tenant moves out of the apartment, he must consider the amount of picture hooks and holes in the wall he/she has left behind.

“It is advisable to fill in the holes, especially if the tenant was living in an unfurnished apartment. If there is other damage or marks, these need to be taken care of as well,” said Masand.

Repaint the walls

Reasonable wear and tear are permissible. However, it may be advisable to repaint the walls before vacating the property. “It is less expensive to repaint them yourself than to have the landlord do so and deduct the fees from your security deposit,” said Masand.

What colour to paint your wall

“Make sure you use neutral colours such as white and off-white. However, if you moved into a house with bright walls, make sure you ask the landlord before choosing to paint in a different colour,” he said.

Other things to take care of from the tenant’s perspective

If the tenant is leaving an unfurnished property, all furniture needs to be removed, otherwise, the landlord will deduct the removal costs from the security deposit. If you are leaving a furnished property, make sure that all the furniture is in its place and in proper condition. The landlord is likely to have an inventory of the items present when the property was handed to you.

Clear your bills

It’s important to let DEWA, Etisalat or Du know when you’re moving out so they know when to send the final bill and switch off the water, lights and internet at the right time. Failure to do so could land you with larger bills which no one needs when they’re moving out and can cause strife with you and your landlord.

Establish good communication

Communication and good manners remain the key to positive dealings with landlords. Make sure you establish a healthy relationship early on in your tenancy, and try your best to stay on good terms. Landlords would typically return your rental security deposit in full soon after you vacate and everyone can then move on to the next chapter in their lives.

“And yet, if the landlord refuses to return the full security deposit money, there are legal procedures that one can take to pursue this.”

If all fails, file a rental dispute

“When all attempts to get the security deposit fail, the only thing to do is to file a rental dispute case with the Rent Disputes Settlement Centre at Dubai Land Department (DLD),” said Masand.

“If your attempts at getting your security deposit fail, you will probably need to turn to the law and file an official complaint against your landlord,” he added.