Ask: I’m staying in a rented apartment in Dubai. I have small maintenance problems in my house and I contacted my real estate agent. However, they pointed out a clause in the lease that all maintenance costs below Dh500 are the responsibility of the tenant. Is this legal?
Answer: Since you reside in a rented apartment in Dubai, the provisions of Law No. 26 of 2007 regulating relations between landlords and tenants in the Emirate of Dubai apply.
In Dubai, it is the landlord’s responsibility to carry out maintenance and repair work on a rented apartment, unless the landlord and tenant agree in the lease that the tenant is responsible for the maintenance of the rented apartment. This is in accordance with Article 16 of the Dubai Rental Law, which states: “Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, the owner shall, during the term of the rental contract, be responsible for the maintenance works of the property and of the repair of any breakdown or defect that affects the full intended use by the Tenant of the Real Property”.
Based on the above mentioned legal provision, as you have already agreed in the lease agreement that you will bear up to Dh500 for any maintenance, you will be responsible for incurring such costs as mentioned in the lease agreement.
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However, a landlord may be responsible for rectifying any breakdown, damage or defect caused to a rented apartment and if such breakdown, damage or defect is due to reasons beyond the tenant’s control. This is in accordance with Article 17 of the Dubai Rental Law, which states: “A landlord may not make changes to the immovable property or any of its fixtures or fittings that impede the intended use of the same. The lessor will be responsible for such changes, whether made by him or any other person authorized by him. Furthermore, the landlord will be responsible for any breakdown, deterioration, defect or damage suffered by the Real Estate Property due to causes beyond the control of the tenant.”
Ashish Mehta is the Founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practice law in Dubai, the United Kingdom and India. Full details of his firm at: www.amalawyers.com. Readers can email their questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.
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