Ever heard tales from expats about Rental Security Deposits? Most would say “you can kiss that good bye, you’ll never get it back”
26 August 2019| Last updated on 19 January 2020
What if I told you, there are steps you can take at the start of a rental, to help you at the end.
Ever heard of a pre-check-in and check-in inspection? Most of us especially newcomers to the UAE, take Agents/Landlords on good faith when you decide to sign a lease, especially when they promise everything will be functional, clean and maintenance will always be on call. Really!
To support you and of course the end goal of getting a Security Deposit back, there are a couple of things you can do to help.
1. Don’t Let any Agent Bully You
Don’t let any Agent bully you into parting with your hard-earned cash too early at the start of lease negotiation. You have a right to request and receive:
- Copies of the Landlord’s papers
- Draft copy of the lease to review prior to signing
- Copy of the Title Deed
- Copies of the final utility bills from the last tenant to make sure the accounts are closed
- Ejari/Tawtheeq Cancellation Certificate (What is an Ejari? https://www.ejari-online.com/about-ejari/)
2. Pre-Check-in Inspection
Once you are satisfied all is as it should be, you’ve paid the Security Deposit, request a pre-check-in inspection. What is that you ask?
A pre-check-in inspection is where, prior to you handing over any rent, you meet with the agent and/or landlord/ Power of Attorney at the property. (Please Note: A Real Estate Agent by law cannot be a Power of Attorney for a Landlord.)
During this inspection, you should review it room by room documenting all damages, flaws and maintenance issues which require fixing prior to key handover/lease start date. In addition to documenting notes you need to photograph each item.
3. Review and Approve
Once you have completed the pre-check-in you review the document with the Agent/Landlord on site and all sign it to agree what needs doing and what will not be done. You can then pay the rent on the terms agreed.
The Landlord is under obligation to fix/clean/paint etc. all the issues prior documentation before the contract start date/key handover.
4. Check-In Inspection
During the key handover you will do another inspection called a Check-in Inspection. The Water and Electricity must be connected for this as you will check all lights and AC’s to make sure they work.
Using the Pre-check-in report, go around the residence again room by room, checking to see if previous documented items have been fixed. If not, make a note on the report and take another photo. Once you have completed the Check-in, have the Landlord/Agent/ Power of Attorney sign and date the report. This is then your snapshot of the state of the residence on the day you receive it. Email a copy of the report to the Landlord and Agent, in PDF format for their reference.
5. After you have moved in
Now not a lot of people know this however; in Dubai after the lease date has started as a tenant you have 10 days to report any maintenance issues to the Landlord. He must fix these. After the 10 days the lease maintenance will kick in where you as a tenant pay anything under the set amount agreed upon in your contract and they will cover anything over.
6. Security Deposits when leaving
The Check-in Report can be used in conjunction with a Pre-check/Check-out Report. Be mindful of the terms and conditions of your lease agreement and not how you received the residence on day one. You would have wanted it freshly painted and deep cleaned. The landlord wants it returned the same way and this will/should be in your lease. So, don’t forget to read your lease very carefully.
If you are relocating to the UAE or locally in the UAE and want advice on finding your new home (or any element of the move), we are the experts who are here to help.
With 120 years’ experience in international relocation, we make moving home easy for you. Get in touch today and find out how Santa Fe Relocation will make this the best move of your life.
Authored by Nicola Penrose Gale
Senior Global Mobility Consultant
Santa Fe Relocation