Simple steps to safeguarding your tenancy contract

Tenants in Dubai should ensure that landlords have paid all service charges and that lease agreements are clear to avoid disputes later.

“Service charges are one of the biggest, most critical and one of the most controversial issues in Dubai,” said Shahram Safai, the head of real estate at Afridi and Angell legal consultants.

“In a tenancy agreement, the landlord’s obligations should be spelt out so it is clear what he is responsible for. You should not assume this, it should be stated in the contract clearly. It is vital to lay out the obligations of the tenant and the landlord. The contract should be all-inclusive. There should be no hidden fees: the language should reflect that. The greater the clarity, the less the surprises down the road.”

The tenant should ask for a certificate from the developer to confirm that the landlord has paid up all service fees.

“The agreement should say this is the rent and includes use of these facilities,” Mr Safai said. “It should be transparent and describe exactly for what the rent is being paid. I would hate for the tenant to walk into a dispute between the developer and landlord about facilities.”

Such disputes often have soured tenancy relations in Dubai, where some developers are restricting the use of common facilities and parking, citing unpaid dues.

The tenancy agreement must also be registered online with the Dubai Land Department.

Step by step

1) Use a registered broker. These brokers are assessed by the Dubai Land Department and have broker registration numbers that can be verified with authorities.

2) Ask for a certificate from the developer showing that the landlord has paid all service fees.

3) Check that the tenancy agreement specifies length of lease, landlord’s responsibilities for paying service fees and other related charges, and tenant’s responsibility for paying utilities that he consumes. It should also specify facilities the tenant can use and parking spots to which he is entitled as part of his rent.

4) Register the contract on This is a government requirement to protect both parties in case of a dispute, to check fraud and to ensure the same property is not rented out twice.

(From The National newspaper, Abu Dhabi)