Dubai landlord sends security guard to fix tenant’s maintenance problems

The past few months we’ve been having problems with the water flow in our villa. We’ve lived in this house for around eight to nine years and have renewed our lease for another three years. We’ve complained to the owner multiple times about the water issue (namely that when one person is showering, the water flow basically shuts off or is very minimal in the rest of the house). For the first few months, there was no response and the property’s ‘security guard’ tried to do whatever he could. After a while, the owner sent his superintendent/assistant to officially look at the problem, but ever since, we’ve just had the security guard and one other fellow try to fix the issue. He hasn’t sent over any legitimate plumbers. They said that they ‘think’ the water pump isn’t functioning correctly and we will require a new one. Keep in mind that these are not plumbers. The superintendent even said that the owner is not interested in spending money on his older properties he just wants to channel it into new properties. Is there anything we can do to force the landlord to actually help us out? SK, Dubai

The landlord has a duty of care to you and as such he has the responsibility of ensuring you continue with the enjoyment of the property. That said, I know that actually getting landlords to face their responsibilities can be difficult at times. As I see it you have a couple of options: you can either continue with the “negotiations” with the landlord to get him to finally sort the problem out or you can get an estimate from a legitimate plumber yourself so that when you finally get the actual problem highlighted, you are at least one step closer to resolving the issue. Once the cost of repair is known, you can again try to get the owner to pay directly or indeed pay it yourself initially, then either get it back from the landlord or deduct it from the next rental payment. Please remember, however, to get these instructions in writing from the landlord so you have evidence of agreements in case of any future disputes.

We have been in our villa for seven years. Several months ago, we tried to register our tenancy contract for Ejari for the first time (as our landlord refused to do it). Unfortunately, the application was rejected. After investigating the problem, it came to light that the landlord has never registered his original purchase of the property from the developer with the Land Department. We have asked the landlord to compete the Land Department registration so that we can get an Ejari certificate as we need this to sponsor visas for family, maid, etc. However, the landlord refuses as it will cost him money to register. The only solution the landlord’s agent has proposed is that we pay for his villa registration and he deducts the payment from our next rental. Apart from this being utterly unfair, we are concerned that he will still delay the process as he has shown absolutely no urgency about this so far. Filing a case at Rera feels like an option but seems expensive and ultimately what can they do in this situation anyway? DG, Dubai

At this stage I would not advise you pay for your landlord’s registration, unless of course you enter into a proper written and attested agreement that guarantees the money spent would indeed be taken off next year’s rent. There is another way to get your landlord to register his property: perhaps you were not aware of one very important change in the law that was announced earlier this year. The government has put in place a deadline for all homeowners and developers to register their property at the Land Department. Initially the deadline was by June 30 of this year but this date was later altered to give more time to individuals to finalise the registration process. The new deadline for registrations is now the end of this month. Any property owner who fails to register their property by this new date faces a hefty fine. There are other implications for the owner too: he will not be able to sell his property or indeed any property he may own, in addition to the financial penalty. I suggest you communicate this to your landlord and remind him of his legal obligations. Delaying further will cause him more problems so I suggest you politely ask him to proceed so that you too can go ahead with the Ejari, which is another legal obligation on the landlord and tenant. If all this fails, I suggest you file a case at the rental committee as his actions are not only blocking you but breaking the rules too.

Mario Volpi is a real estate professional who has worked within the industry for the past 31 years in London and Dubai. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and they do not reflect in any way those of the institutions to which he is affiliated. It does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only. Please send any questions to


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