We let out a Jumeirah Village Circle townhouse in August last year for Dh140,000 with payments spread over 12 cheques. The tenant asked to deposit cash each month as she claimed her monthly salary was not paid on the same day. We agreed, but each month she fell behind. In April, we served her a notary public 30-day notice to pay in full or risk eviction after she deposited several cheques that bounced. She then started paying a little more, but ended the contract last month Dh69,792 in arrears. At this point she claimed she had medical problems and could not pay. Despite this, we met up with her and agreed to sign another year’s contact. This may sound foolish but there were many empty villas around and rents were dropping. She signed another contract under the same conditions and promised to make up the arrears. However, the pattern has continued and we now want to evict her. My questions are:

• Does the notary public notice still stand for the first contract despite it being finished?

• What steps should we take now and can they be done online? We work during the hours the Rental Dispute Settlement Committee is open.

• Do we have to serve another notary public on the new contract, which is also now in arrears?

• How can we stop her leaving the country? DW, Dubai

Unfortunately you will have to resend a new notarised notification, stating that if the arrears are not paid within the 30-day period, you will have no alternative but to escalate matters to the rental committee. If, after the 30-day window has expired, you have still not received payment, you will then be able to file a case. To clarify, you can file a case straight away at the RDSC, however, they will request you send this 30-day notice anyway, so I suggest you do this first.

Ffiling the case has to be done in person so you will have to take time out of work. This is how to file a complaint at the rent committee:

1. Make sure you have originals and copies of the following documents:

· Passport, visa and Emirates ID

· Ejari certificate

· Original tenancy contract

· Recent DEWA bills

· Rental deposit slip

· Copies of cheques issued to landlord

· Title Deed

· Copies of any correspondence between the tenant and landlord regarding the rental increase or dispute at hand

Remember if you have an Arabic copy of these documents, it will save time and money.

2. Once you have your papers ready, go to the RDSC where a typing centre will fill out your complaint. The typist will translate the necessary documents into Arabic (if so required) and will ask questions about the nature of your dispute so that your complaint can be formalised correctly.

3. The costs involved:

· The fee is 3.5 per cent of the annual rent and must be at least Dh500 but not exceed Dh20,000.

· There are also costs for Arabic translation.

· Administration costs come in at Dh110

4. What happens next?

The arbitration department is the first of four departments in the legal process of handling a rental dispute. This department tries to resolve the dispute within 15 days. If the parties are unable to reach a settlement via arbitration, then a lawsuit needs to be filed and a ruling is issued within 30 days.

The decision will be effective unless an appeal is made. The execution department is responsible for enforcing the decisions and judgments taken by the centre and these judgements cannot be reversed.

5. What to expect once the case has been filed

The RDSC will give you a date and time to go and present your case, but keep in mind that there will be a queue and you might have to wait for a few hours. If the committee decides the case is not straightforward and the documents insufficient, you will need to return another time. The case might take weeks or even months to be resolved, so tenants and landlords are advised to only resort to this once all other means have been exhausted.

In your case a new file will have to be opened on the new contract. With reference to your fear that the tenant may leave the country, report the case to the police, however, use the new number of 901 not 999 as this is classified as a non-urgent case.

All monies owed to you will be taken into consideration so despite the fact that there will be two cases, all the amounts will be under consideration.

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