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Question: Four years ago, I purchased a property off-plan. According to the purchase agreement, I was supposed to receive possession of the property in February 2020. However, the developer was late in delivering the unit. The developer has recently sent me an email, asking me to amend the purchase agreement, as the total sale area agreed upon has increased by 20 per cent. He is now asking me to pay for this extra area, which was increased without taking my consent, and I am also unable to pay it. My question is: Is the developer legally entitled to demand the value of this non-agreed increase in saleable area? Please advise.

Answer: According to Article 12 of Executive Council Resolution No 13 of 2008, in the emirate of Dubai, one is not obliged to pay for any increase in ‘the area of the sold real estate unit, which is considered valid, and the increase in the area after delivery is not to be considered. The developer may not claim the value of that increase. However, if the saleable space is less than the agreed area, then the developer is obligated to compensate the buyer for that shortage, unless the shortage is ineffective, and in that case, the developer is not obligated to compensate the buyer for that deficiency’.

As a matter of principle, if the area sold is specified in the purchase contract and upon delivery, if an increase or decrease is cited in it, then the agreement must be referred to in order to settle the issue. This may require one of the parties to bear the deficiency or the increase (as the case may be) or decide upon the right of termination of the agreement.

If there is no agreement between the two parties in this regard, then the provisions of Article 523 of the civil law should be applied, according to which, you have the right to request the court for termination of the agreement and demand a full refund.

Article 523 of the Civil Transactions Law states that ‘If the contract specifies the amount of the sale and there is a decrease or increase in saleable area, and there is no agreement or clear knowledge in this regard, then the following rules must be followed: If the increment or deficiency add to the obligation of the purchaser beyond what he or she has intended to purchase or if it changes the nature of the transaction, then he or she may opt for cancellation of the sale, unless the difference is trifle and it does not contradict the purpose sought by the purchaser’.

Malicious suspension from work

Question: I have been working in a private company for two years. In January 2021, my employer filed a police complaint against me on charges of leaking classified information to competing companies, according to the employer’s claim. The criminal court later issued a ruling, acquitting me of the charge. Throughout the indictment, I was suspended from work, but merely on the basis of verbal instructions. Thereafter, I resigned. The employer has refused to pay my salaries from January 2021 until June 2021 — that is until the date of my resignation. My question is: Am I legally entitled to demand the salaries from January until my resignation? Secondly, can my resignation be considered as unfair dismissal? Finally, do I have the right to file a claim for material and moral compensation against the employer? Please advise.

Answer: First of all, the worker is entitled to his or her wages, even for the period of suspension, if he or she proves that the suspension was malicious. This is according to Article 112 of the federal labour law, which states: ‘A worker may be temporarily suspended from work if he or she is accused of committing a deliberate offence against life, property, honour or honesty or if it is an offence associated with a strike. The period of suspension shall run from the date the incident is reported to the competent authorities until the latter renders a decision on the matter. The worker shall not be entitled to any wage in respect to the period of suspension. Where it is decided that the worker is not to be prosecuted or he or she is to be acquitted, then the worker will have to be reinstated and paid full wages for the period of suspension if it is proved that the employer had maliciously contrived it’.

Dubai Supreme Court, in Cassation No 2010/46, Labour, decided that: The worker’s entitlement to wage for the period of suspension from work exists in case of the issuance of a decision not to bring him or her to trial or if he or she is proved to be innocent and that the suspension is proved to be malicious. To ascertain whether the employer has accused the worker in a malicious way or not, the trial court has to decide on the basis of justifiable reasons furnished by the worker in support of his or her claims, on the basis of documentary evidence. The burden of proving a malicious intent on the part of the employer falls on the worker.

Secondly, if it is proved that the employer’s accusation was malicious, then the court may consider your resignation as an arbitrary dismissal. In general, the resignation is considered as arbitrary dismissal in case the employee was forced to resign because of a breach of obligations on the part of the employer.

Finally, you have the right to file a case, requesting for material and moral compensation. The estimation whether you deserve such compensation and the amount you deserve falls on the court.