Whether you’re an investor or a tenant, falling victim to a real estate scam is something we can all avoid. According to reports, a real-estate corporation rented many homes from landlords at a high price with multiple or four checks, then subleased them at a cheaper price with one upfront payment. The company then shut down, and the CEO fled, leaving landlords and tenants unsure of how to protect their rights.
Tenants are the most vulnerable in this situation because they do not have Ejari and must inevitably quit the properties. In practice, it is the tenant’s job to write checks in the landlord’s name. At the same time, landlords must pay at least one month’s rent (to serve the notice period) as well as legal fees, not to mention the stress and time wasted. At the same time, landlords must pay at least one month’s rent (to serve the notice period) as well as legal fees, not to mention the stress and time wasted.
If you’re a landlord, you should take the following procedures after receiving a bounced rental check:
- Visit the Dubai Land Department’s RDC (Rental Dispute Centre).
- Issue a notice to the tenant, attested by Dubai Courts, to replace the bounced check, which costs between 3,500 and 5,000 AED.
- The matter will be raised to the judge after 30 days from the date Aramex sent the notification, who will issue an eviction notice costing about 3.8 percent of the rental value.
- Landlords can investigate or consider cancelling the connection if the principal renter has not registered with DEWA or Empower.
As a tenant, how can you avoid real estate scams?
- Always ask for the property’s title deed.
- Verify the property’s title deed and owner’s name on the Dubai Land Department’s website or REST mobile application. Only issue checks in the name of the verified owner.
- In most cases, you should avoid signing a yearly rental contract with a vacation rental firm.
How can a landlord avoid real estate scams?
- You can only rent your house for one or two cheques.
- Sign a management contract instead of an annual rental contract/Ejari when working with vacation home providers.
- Deal with major and known companies with multiple business verticals.
- Keep in mind that you cannot add custom terms and conditions that override any law, such as immediate eviction in the event of a bounced check.
The Dubai Land Department did an excellent job by dedicating a full department to rental issues, known as the RDC (Renal Dispute Centre), which has established clear rules such as “Subleasing requires the owner’s written consent,” and as part of ongoing improvements, the law could be amended to eliminate the unnecessary 30-day notice period in cases where the tenant is not reachable or it is proven that the tenant has fled.