Ask the Law
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Question 1: A year ago, I rented my villa to someone. The tenant sent me a message wanting to vacate and hand over the keys. When I went to the villa, I found that the villa was damaged and unfit for use. I refused to receive the keys. What does the law say on the tenant’s behaviour towards my villa? What kind of lawsuit should I file so that I can obtain compensation for the damages caused to the villa?

Answer 1: Article 21 of Law No. 26 Of 2007 regulating the relationship between landlords and tenants in the emirate of Dubai states that: “Tenants shall be obliged, upon expiry of tenancy, to return the property to landlord in the same condition as handed over to him at the time of contracting except for normal wear and tear or for reasons beyond his control. However, in case of any dispute, the matter shall be referred to the committee for decision.”

You have to file a petition order case to the Rental Dispute Centre of Dubai. This case enables you to file a petition requesting Provisional and Urgent Affairs Judge to issue temporary action binding upon both parties to determine the damages within the property and inspect the leased premises. The required documents for such cases include a petition request that clearly sets out the reason for seeking a petition order, the latest copy of lease (Ejari) with translation, a copy of the applicant Emirates ID and a declaration stating the validity of information provided, undertaking an indemnity guarantee for damage and prejudice.

The centre will send an expert to inspect the villa and evaluate the damages. As per the report of inspection, you will have the right to file a case to the same Rental Dispute Centre. This case might include your demand of compensation for the damages as per the report of inspection, in the event the tenant is terminating the tenancy contract before its end date or in case the tenant is still occupying the tenancy without renewing the contract. Moreover, you can demand all the monthly rental amounts till the date the tenant vacates the tenancy as well as DEWA fees or any other fees payable as per the contract and the usage of utilities by the tenant till the eviction date.

Company transfer and unpaid salaries

Question 2: I have been working with a private company for two years. Last February, the employer transferred me to another company affiliated with him. Since February, I have been receiving a salary from this company. However, three months ago, I did not receive my salary and also I did not get my annual leave. Do I legally have the right to file a labour lawsuit to claim late salaries and vacation allowance? Against which company should I file the lawsuit?

Answer 2: You have the right to resign and request your salaries, annual leave, arbitrary dismissal, gratuity, ticket, notice period, and all other related labour rights, including the transfer of your furniture if agreed upon. The case should be filed against both companies, the company your contract is signed with and the other company.

In case you did not sign an agreement with the first company that assures the process of shifting and preserving your old labour rights with it, then you might be in a situation that the first company may deny your rights, any relation with you or with the new company, especially if the new company has a separate trade licence. In this situation, you should prove by all the methods of proof (including expertise, documents) that both companies are one entity, that you have moved to the new company upon the request of the first company and that your work period was extended with the new company.

As a general principle, the labour case should be filed within one year from the date of accrual as per Article 6 of the Labour Law or else the employee will lose his rights. The law says: “In all cases, no claim for any of the rights provided for in this law shall be heard if brought to court after the lapse of one year from the date of accrual, nor shall any claim be admitted if the procedures stated in this article are not complied with.”

The labour case shall be filed through an application to the competent Labour Department.