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According to Dubai Rental Law, the landlord must issue a month's notice before initiating any legal action against an errant tenant. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Bounced cheque case

Question: Four months ago, I issued a cheque to someone against a loan I had taken from him, but requested him not to present the cheque to the bank. However, he presented the cheque to the bank and the same was returned due to insufficient funds. The cheque was then presented to the police, but I did not go to the police station. Recently, I have come to know that the Criminal Court had issued a verdict against me, in absentia, four months ago. My question is, if I now pay the full amount of the cheque, can this criminal procedure and the penalty ruling be withdrawn? What are the legal procedures to solve this problem?

Answer: According to Article 401 of the UAE Penal Code, as amended by Federal Law No 34 dated 24/12/2005:

A defendant shall be subject to a jail sentence or to a fine, if he or she draws in bad faith a cheque without sufficient funds or who, after issuing the cheque, withdraws all or part of the funds, so that the remaining balance is insufficient to cover the amount of the cheque, or issues an order to the drawee to stop payment, or if he or she deliberately writes or signs the cheque in such a manner as to make it non-payable.

A person shall be sentenced to the same penalty who endorses to another or delivers to him or her a bearer draft, knowing that it doesn’t have sufficient funds in consideration thereof or that it is not drawable.

The penal action shall be precluded in case of payment or its withdrawal subsequent to the perpetration of the crime, but prior to the settlement of the case by a decisive judgement. Otherwise, stay of execution shall be ordered

According to Article (229) Concerning the Criminal Procedural Law, as amended by Federal Law No (29) of 2005 dated 30/11/2005, states:

The condemned party, as well as the party claiming damages, may both challenge, by way of opposition, the judgements rendered in absentia in misdemeanours and petty offences within seven days from the date of notification of the judgement by filing a report with the clerks’ office of the Criminal Court that rendered the judgement. The date of the hearing set for the examination of the opposition shall be mentioned on the report and this shall be considered a notification of that date even if the report was submitted by an attorney.

The opposition shall result in the review of the case, concerning the opposing party, before the court that rendered the judgement in absentia and the said party may not be prejudiced by this opposition. If the opposing party fails to attend the first hearing set for the examination of the opposition, then it will be considered as if it never took place at all and the opposing party may not file an opposition to the judgement issued in his absence.

The judgement that is issued in your absence is not to be considered as a decisive judgement, meaning that in case of payment of the amount of the cheque, the penal action shall be precluded.

The procedure to do this is by following either of two ways: You can apply to the public prosecution to pay the amount of the cheque and upon payment you should apply again to the public prosecution to preclude the criminal case against you. Or, you should file an opposition report to challenge the judgement and in the opposition you should pay and request the court to cancel the judgement because of the payment made. The opposition should be filed within seven days from the date of your notification of the judgement or else you should appeal the judgement within 15 days, following Article (234) Concerning the Criminal Procedural Law

According to amended Federal Law No (29) Of 2005, dated 30/11/2005:

The appeal must be lodged through a report submitted to the clerks’ office at the Criminal Court within 15 days as of the date of pronouncement of the judgement in the presence of the parties or from the date of the judgement rendered in the opposition.

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Sub-tenancy, in violation of rental contract

Question: Three months ago, I rented out my villa to a family. However, about two months ago, I found out that the original tenant had sub-leased the villa to a number of persons who were using it for bachelors’ accommodations. According to the terms and conditions mentioned in the tenancy contract, the original tenant was not entitled to sub-lease the property. Due to this violation, I asked the sub-tenants to vacate the villa, but they refused, saying that they had rented the villa from the original tenant. The original tenant, meanwhile, has left the UAE. My question are: 1) As the owner of the villa, am I entitled to file a case to have the villa vacated because the original tenant had sub-leased it without any written permission from me? 2) In this case, do I have the right to disconnect the electricity and water supply and force the sub-tenants to vacate the property? In the tenancy contract, it is mentioned that the landlord has the right to disconnect the electricity and water supplies in case the tenant violates the tenancy contract’s terms and conditions. 3) Do I need to issue a month’s notice before filing a rental case?

Answer: I would like to clarify to the questioner that the original tenant had violated the terms of the tenancy contract when he sub-leased the villa without a written permission from the landlord. Therefore, if a case is filed before the rental court, the court may decide to issue an order to have the villa vacated and hand it over to the landlord. However, the landlord, according to rental law, has no right to disconnect electricity and water supplies. In fact, if it is mentioned in the tenancy contract that the landlord has the right to disconnect electricity and water supplies to the villa, then that is in violation of rental law. Finally, in such cases, according to Dubai Rental Law, issuing a one-month notice before filing a case is a must.