‘Can my landlord sue me for non-payment of rent?’


I lost my job on January 31 and I couldn’t pay the rent for my apartment since February.

I visited my landlord’s office to inform him that I had received a job offer and that I would be able to pay the rent starting next month. I also wanted to convince him that I was going pay the outstanding amount in installments with my monthly rent.

But my the owner did not accept my conditions and asked me to pay the full membership fee immediately or file a complaint against me.

I can’t afford to pay the rent due in a lump sum, as I have other debts to settle. Please advise. ZK, Dubai

The first thing to do is not to panic. It’s clear from your letter that you’ve tried to reason with the landlord, given your situation, but either he’s not ready to listen or he’s had enough and just wants out of this scenario.

It’s no one’s fault but if you can’t come to an agreement, going to the Rental Dispute Resolution Committee (RDSC) may be your only solution.

While I can’t predict exactly what a judge might say, it would be obvious to me that you are finally trying to pay back what is owed, in addition to the monthly rent.

The judge will decide if this is reasonable or find mercy with the owner, who is currently out of pocket.

Non-payment of rent is grounds for eviction, and you’re lucky the landlord hasn’t filed a complaint in the past few months.

In situations like this, it’s about finding a compromise because it’s nobody’s fault. But your lack of a job back then affected your landlord, so now he’s looking for solace.

Your offer, as reasonable as it is today, may not be enough for the owner, so let him file a case with the RDSC. This way you will also have the opportunity to defend your position.

I am concerned that the fees charged by my Facilities Management (FM) contractor do not comply with the terms of the Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA) for my property.

The contractor wants me to pay Dh6,000 in annual facility maintenance fees one year before handing over the property.

They also cited the lack of a liability period for defects, which should begin upon handover, according to the SPA.

The developer also charges for the issuance of a No Objection Certificate (NoC) for a property that has not yet been delivered. Is it correct?

How can I solve these problems? PH, Abu Dhabi

I will answer your questions to assist you but given the complexity of your request in general and the fact that you detail the specific conditions of your SPA, I also recommend that you consult a lawyer to help you in this process.

In reference to your first point, if the contract specifies that the 6,000 Dh must be paid before delivery, then unfortunately this sum must be paid. If it is not mentioned in the contract, it is not necessary to pay it.

FM Company cannot hold property for ransom in this manner if this clause is not in your contract.


Prices of real estate apartments in Dubai — September 2022 — in pictures

Your second point mentions liability without defect. This exists in accordance with the law and is valid for 12 months. This cannot be excluded from the contract because the law takes precedence. There is no liability without defect upon handover.

To receive a NoC from the developer, a fee applies. The cost can be between 1,000 Dh and 2,000 Dh (as an indication), but it is never a percentage of the sale price of the property.

Mario Volpi is Director of Sales and Rentals at Engel & Volkers. He has worked in the real estate sector for over 35 years, in London and Dubai. The opinions expressed do not constitute legal advice and are provided for informational purposes only. Please send your questions to [email protected]

Updated: September 22, 2022, 04:00


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