KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: how to get your security deposit back?

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So it’s time to move out of your apartment or villa and you’d like to get your rental security deposit back. In order to get back 100% of your deposit when you vacate the property, you need to make sure to the property is returned in the state you found it when you first moved in. And in case the landlord still refuses to pay back the security deposit in full (or at all), there are certain legal procedures you might have to pursue.

But first, here’s the less complicated route to getting your rental security deposit back in full in Dubai:

  • Read your contract regarding maintenance

The law in Dubai states that the landlord is responsible for maintenance works during the term of the lease, and for repairing any defect that affects the use of the property. However, lease contracts often state that the tenant is responsible for minor maintenance (AED200 or less), and the landlord is responsible for major maintenance work (more than AED200).

Therefore, if the lease does not include a clause on maintenance, the landlord is responsible to cover maintenance cost. However, the tenant still remains liable for any damage he/she causes to the property, and the landlord might deduct the repair costs from the security deposit.

It also pays to keep good records of everything from the moment you moved in, to repairs carried out during your tenancy, any personal costs incurred and finally what has been done upon moving out.

  • Repair the walls

Before moving out, a tenant must consider the amount of picture hooks and holes in the wall he/she has left behind. It is advisable to fill in the holes, especially if the tenant was living in an unfurnished apartment. If there’s other damage or marks, these need to be taken care of as well.

  • Repaint the walls

Before vacating the property, make sure you repaint the walls. It does not matter what state it was in when you moved in, the landlord will expect it to be in top condition when you leave. It is much cheaper to repaint it yourself than have the landlord do it and deduct the fees from the security deposit.

Make sure you to use neutral colours, such as white and off-white. However, if you moved into a house with bright walls, make sure you ask the landlord before choosing to paint it with a different colour.

  • Remove, replace or repair furniture

If the tenant is leaving an unfurnished property, all furniture needs to be removed, otherwise, the landlord will deduct the removal costs from the security deposit. On the other hand, when leaving a furnished property, make sure that all the furniture is in its place and in proper condition. The landlord is likely to have an inventory of the items present when the property was handed to you. 

  • Clear your bills

It’s important to let let DEWA and either Etisalat or Du know you’re moving out so they know when to send you your final bill and switch off the water, lights and internet at the right time. Failure to do so could land you with larger bills which no one needs when they’re moving out and can cause strife with you and your landlord.

  • Establish good communication

Communication and good manners remain the key to positive dealings with landlords. Make sure you establish a healthy relationship early on in your tenancy, and try your best to stay on good terms. Landlords would typically return your rental security deposit in full soon after you vacate and everyone can then move on to the next chapter in their lives.

  • When all else fails, complain!

If your attempts at getting your security deposit fail, you will probably need to turn to the law and file an official complaint against your landlord. View our easy step-by-step guide on how to file a rental dispute case with the Rent Disputes Settlement Centre at Dubai Land Department.

If you’re still looking for a new home, we have thousands of properties for rent in Dubai.