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Security Deposit: What are my options for getting back my security amount from the Landlord?

Security Deposit: What are my options for getting back my security amount from the Landlord?

Tenants in the United Arab Emirates are having difficulty recovering their security deposits as landlords find ways of keeping their money when they are leaving homes.
When a tenant signs a rental contract, most property owners in the emirate need a security deposit, which can be paid in cash or by cheque. The deposit is usually 5% of the accepted annual rent or a month’s rent, which the landlord commits to repay after the tenant vacates the leased property.
Although there is no legal requirement for this aspect of the renting transaction, it is usually considered insurance against property damage, and the tenant is required to restore the unit in “like new” condition.

And this is where the uncertainty arises, because in most leases, the ‘as is’ condition or what constitutes typical ‘wear and tear’ is not clearly specified; landlords are accused of abusing this. Property management companies frequently refund only half or a portion of the deposited funds, citing maintenance work as an excuse, as was the case with practically all.

The issue is that people do not read agreements carefully enough. “Individuals frequently overlook provisions in contracts, which the law expressly states. Even if these issues are not addressed, tenants may request that the landlords include them in the contract and clarify the topic before signing it if they become an issue later.

Things to be done by the tenant before signing the Tenancy Contract

  • Before you sign your contract, make sure you read it well.
  • Make sure the security deposit and maintenance provisions are clear.
  • Also, ask the landlords to clarify ‘wear and tear.’
  • Take notice of the apartment’s condition upon taking possession and contact the landlord if anything is wrong.
  • Ensure that the contract clauses have not been modified throughout the renewal process.
  • In the event of a disagreement, contact Rental Dispute Committee and file a complaint.

What must be the options for getting my security deposit back if the landlord refuses?

A complaint can be filed with the Rental Dispute Centre if the renter is unable to collect his or her security deposit back.
If the landlord refuses to repay the deposit after the lease term has ended for no cause, as stated in Article 21 of Law No. 26 of 2007, the tenant is entitled to file a complaint with the Rental Dispute Centre and Conciliation Directorate to reclaim his or her deposit, according on Article 21 of Law No. 26 of 2007.

What papers should be included with the claim?

You must submit the following papers in order to file a dispute:

  • Registration with Ejari
  • A copy of the landlord’s identifying document, such as a passport, driver’s license, or Emirates ID.
  • A copy of the tenant’s Emirates ID, a copy of their passport, and/or a copy of their visa page.
  • In Arabic, an explanation note containing the incidents and facts, clarifying the claim and the amount of money deposited. All documentation must be in Arabic or lawfully translated into Arabic before being submitted to the center.

How can you get security deposit back?

While a tenant has the right to submit a complaint in case the landlord refuses to refund the security deposit, it is also helpful to stick to some best practices before you move out of your residential unit, to help your chances of collecting your deposit in full.

  1. Examine your maintenance contract.
    The contract may specify the quantity of regular maintenance that the landlord is responsible for, as well as any cost ceilings for such maintenance.
  2. Repair any damage and, if feasible, repaint
    It is critical that any damage to the unit be repaired prior to handover. Repainting the walls may be necessary if the paint has faded off. If you hand over the apartment without making these repairs, the landlord may withhold the fees from your deposit, which could be more expensive than hiring a reputable third-party maintenance company.
  3. Don’t leave any furniture behind.
    This is true for apartments that aren’t furnished. Before handing over, make sure there is no clutter, furniture, or personal items.
  4. Pay off your debts
    While a utility clearance is required to receive your security deposit, it is also recommended that any telecommunications bills be paid in order to facilitate a seamless transfer.
  5. Consult with your landlord
    It is critical to build strong communication and relationships with your landlord, whether you are dealing with an individual or a real estate firm, in order to avoid any issues at the time of handover.
    If you are unable to recover your security deposit despite taking all of the necessary steps, you can submit a complaint with Rental Dispute C