Unless otherwise agreed, the rent covers the use of amenities such as swimming pools, playgrounds, gymnasiums, health clubs, car parks etc. Image Credit: GN Archives

Question: A year ago, I rented an apartment from a real estate firm for the purpose of my housing. We were allowed to use all the facilities of this complex for the rent we paid. However, when renewing my lease contract now, the firm has asked me to pay additional fees for using these facilities or refrain from using them in the event of non-payment. They have also asked me for a commission in return for renewing the lease. Is this legal?

Answer: If the rent initially covers the use of the facilities, the realty firm has no right to oblige you to pay either the service charges or the commission. Article 11 the Dubai Law No. 26 of 2007 concerning tenancy states that, “Unless otherwise agreed, the rent covers the use of amenities such as swimming pools, playgrounds, gymnasiums, health clubs, car parks etc.” No one has the right to prevent you from using the unit or using common parts or common facilities, with the intent of forcing you to pay service charges or utility services.

This is also stipulated in Law No. (6) Of 2019 Concerning Ownership of Jointly Owned Real Property in the Emirate of Dubai Article (16) which states that, “Unless otherwise stipulated in the unit lease agreement, the owner will be liable to pay the service charges and usage charges”.

The landlord, as per Article 34 of Law No. 26 of 2007, is prohibited from disconnecting services to the property or preventing the tenant from benefiting from the property. However, in the event of occurrence of such incidents, the tenant shall refer to the police station in the same area to prove the case or to stop such prevention, and also to file a case before the committee, enclosing supporting reports for compensation of any damages.

Maximum salary deduction

Question 2: I have been working in a private company for two years. What are the penalties that the employer has the right to impose? Do I legally have the right to object before the Ministry of Labour? In the event of salary deduction, what is the maximum monthly deduction? Please advise.

Disciplinary penalties which may be imposed by the employer upon employees are as per Article 102 of the Labour Law: 1. Warning. 2. Fine. 3. Suspension from work with reduced pay for a period not exceeding 10 days. 4. Forfeiture of deferment of periodic increment in establishments where such increments system is applied. 5. Forfeiture or deferment of promotion in establishments where promotion system is applied. 6. Dismissal from service but reserving right to end of service benefits. 7. Dismissal from service together with forfeiture of all or part of the benefits, - 8 - provided that penalties shall not be imposed for reasons other than those specifically prescribed in Article (120) of this Law.

The employee has the right to object before the Ministry of Labour if he believes that the employer was abusive while imposing these penalties. Knowing that each employer employing 15 or more employees shall display in place of business or branch where he practises business the Penalties Sheet at a visible place, listing the penalties that may be invoked on defaulting employees, and citing the conditions and cases for putting them into operation. Enforcement of penalties and any amendments thereof, should be subject to approval by the Ministry of Labour within 30 days from the date of submitting the same thereto.

As for the fine in respect of a single offence, it may not exceed remuneration payable for five days. It is not permissible to deduct within one month an amount equal to more than five days’ pay from the employee’s remuneration in settlement of fines imposed upon him as per Article 104 of Labour Law. Taking into consideration that any of the penalties prescribed in Article 102 may not be applied on the employee unless he is notified in writing of the charge taken against him and unless his statement is heard and his defense is investigated and unless all that is recorded in a report kept in his personal file. Penalty shall be noted at the bottom of the said report. The employee shall be notified in writing of the kind, amount and reasons of penalties and the action taken against him in case of repetition of the offence.