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Is Dubai property agent entitled to commission after leaving before transaction was concluded?

I worked as an agent in a real estate company for five months and, just before resigning in April, I struck a deal of Dh2.65 million for which I’d worked since November 2014. I had carried out 16 property viewings, I was also part of a MOU signed by my client but was not involved in the transaction procedure which took place in May 2015 since it was a mortgage property in Downtown.

I was verbally assured by my general manager that my part of the commission would be sent to my home country in India once the deal was closed. However, he did not put anything in writing in spite of me insisting he do so. I then returned to India and the general manager took over the deal, as the purchaser was a friend of his from Jordan. It’s now been almost four months and I have still not received my commission. I have been following up with the general manager on WhatsApp regularly and he has not showed any intention of not giving me the money. He says they have not yet collected the commission from the purchaser and the same has been confirmed by other company sources. I sent him two emails and he replied to my second today, saying I am not entitled to it. What are my best options to collect my commission as I am in need of money? Can I claim from the company, irrespective of the fact they have not received it? Can I report this to Rera or the Ministry of Labour? RK, India

The first thing I would like to point out is that no company pays commission to its brokers on a sale that they have yet to be paid on themselves. This is the first part of this jigsaw that needs addressing.

I realise that you require your commission and that you have been very patient, but all you can reasonably do at the moment is to keep communications open with your old company and wait until they have been paid. Rera or the labour department will not be of help at this stage. When you do get proof that the buyer has finally paid the commission then you can press ahead with the company for your fee. If this then becomes a dispute, I would go ahead and file a case at the labour department. Your case, however, is not so clear cut as you do not have written proof that the company will honour your commission now that you have left their employment. Remember that you left before the transaction was concluded; this could possibly weaken your case.

I have a standard tenancy contract that started in May this year for Dh55,000. I am now moving back to the United States and want to vacate by the end of November. The next cheque (which the landlord holds) is due to be cashed on January 10. What are the appropriate steps to handle this with the owner, as he is very unethical and I’ve already had problems with him? LW, UAE

Firstly, please check your contract to see if there is any provision for early termination. For Dubai, any changes to a contract have to be given in writing 90 days before the expiry of the agreement but a common format followed is that the tenant pays the landlord a compensation to break the contract early which is the equivalent of two months’ rent. In some contracts, this is just one month but if nothing is in writing, you will have to speak with your landlord to try to negotiate and explain your situation. In this case it is also beneficial if you are able to help finding another tenant to take over the requested rental period.

For Abu Dhabi, any changes or termination of the contract can only be done by giving 60 days’ prior written notice from the date of expiry. One cannot terminate the contract whenever one likes. There are, however, a couple of ways that a contract can be terminated early; again check the contract for any clauses to this effect or get your landlord’s permission. This last point, as in Dubai, can attract a penalty which has to be negotiated between the parties as there are no set rules in place. If you have neither an early termination clause or your landlord’s permission, you unfortunately will be liable for the rent up to the termination date of May 2016.

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