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Conniving Dubai tenants trick landlord to hand over security deposit

My previous tenant insisted that I give him the security deposit money before he had handed over the keys to me. I needed the keys for the apartment as the new tenant wanted to move in the very next day. I asked my new tenant to check the property before she took the handover of the key from my previous tenant. She told me that she was OK with the apartment and took the keys and, based on her instruction, I released the security deposit. Within a few hours of the security deposit being released, my new tenant started sending me pictures of damage in my apartment – asking me to fix the damaged items. Later, I came to know that my old tenant and the new tenant are friends. She wanted to get her friend’s security deposit released and now she claims that I need to fix the damage. What can I do? KR, Dubai

I know that I mainly get letters from tenants saying how unscrupulous their landlord are but I’ve always said that there are unsavoury tenants too. From what you tell me, this proves my theory that tenants can be devious too. I can see you have regrettably made a few mistakes and I’m certain that you will not be repeating these in the future. Firstly, never let a tenant take possession of the property from an outgoing tenant without you being present to check the property yourself. Secondly, always get any information in writing that might help you in the future should, the need arise. With regards to what happens next, obviously the repairs need to be fixed but now you must be wary of the existing tenant, so take photos of the work carried out so you have evidence that it was done properly. You can try to get your money back from the old tenant but this could prove difficult to conclude satisfactorily now that he has his deposit back. Going to a small claims court is also not economically viable so I’m afraid that you will most likely have to put this down to experience, in the knowledge that you will not be fooled in this way again.

I’m about to buy a property that is tenanted out until January 10, 2016. The seller sent an eviction letter dated December 8, 2015. My transaction will probably be completed by January 16. Two questions: the seller wants to delay renewing the new contract for the tenant until I become the new landlord. Is this normal practice and will the rent be the same? After the deed transfer to my name, will I have to send through another notice to the tenant or is the existing eviction notice still applicable? AR, Dubai

Even if the present landlord delays renewing the rental contract with the tenants, the law states that the contract will automatically renew under the same terms and conditions as before (unless otherwise agreed). When you eventually become the owner, and therefore the new landlord, you will take over the exiting contract agreement on the same terms and conditions as before. With regards to the eviction notice you do not mention what the landlord gave as the reason for the eviction notice. Presumably it was for reason of selling, this being the case for you to take possession due to personal use or use of next of kin of first degree, then you will need to send a new 12-month eviction notice which needs to be sent via notary public or registered mail.

I have cancelled my contract and the landlord owes me for months of rent plus the deposit. He is not paying it back and I am no longer in Dubai. What do you advise me to do next? CW, unknown

I do not know all the facts or details of your case but I have to assume that you are in the right and your landlord does actually owe you this money. This being the situation, if written correspondence to try to resolve this issue amicably is not working, then your only other option would be to file a case at the small claims tribunal at the DIFC. The details can be found at The process is straightforward and 90 per cent of the cases are resolved within four weeks.

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