Ideally, it takes 30 days to resolve a case, but due to the high number of cases, it could stretch to at least two months.
How long does it take for the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) to reach a verdict on rent disputes?
Rera likes to have all cases settled within 30 days. But due to the sheer volume of cases, this is often not possible and thus it would be 15 days until mediation is completed and an additional 30 days for a case to be heard and possibly another 30 days in case of an appeal. If the case is more complex, it can take longer, but Rera will work towards an outcome as quickly as possible.
How can I have my rent decreased?
Rera set out the rules on rent increases, but does not mention decreases. A decrease is all down to the tenant’s negotiation skills. Unless there is a significantly cheaper option available, then moving for a saving of less than 10 per cent is not worth it. Often, although you feel like you are overpaying compared with other property in your area, there is ultimately little you can do about it.
We have received a letter demanding payment of a service charge. Who is due to pay this, the tenant or the landlord?
Service charges are usually taken care of by the landlord. These cover all the costs of security and cleaning for the common areas, as well as the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority bill. Part of the service charge may also go into a sinking fund in case any major work needs to be undertaken in the building.
We were told upon moving into a new tower block that we could not have a barbecue or keep anything on our balcony. Surely, we have paid rent and thus can do with it as we please?
Sadly, it is not that simple. In the last few years there has been a spate of fires in high-rise buildings and apartment blocks. Most of these fires have been down to incidents that could have been avoided. Therefore, a barbecue or even a shisha could be seen as dangerous to have on the balcony, no matter how safety-conscious you are.
Further to this, anything else that is kept on a balcony that could be flammable is considered a fire hazard and must be removed; this includes washing hanging out to dry. We know it is not ideal, but a safety-first approach needs to be taken to avoid further incidents.
Who should collect the rubbish in our villa?
The municipality often takes care of this. If in doubt, contact the master developer or your real estate agent. Invariably, the rubbish is collect three times a week and as long as your bin is left out, it will be emptied too.