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Buy in Dubai? Property prices to soften but don’t wait too long

Buy in Dubai? Property prices to soften but don’t wait too long

I have been living and renting in Dubai for almost five years and am thinking about buying my own apartment this year. My preference and budget is for an area such as IMPZ, Remraam, JLT and so on. Given the oil price crash and the stabilisation of Dubai’s real estate market in the fourth quarter of last year, do you think buying one would be a good decision at the moment? Should I wait until the second half of the year, especially as I don’t mind renewing my tenancy contract, which is due on March 31? WS, Dubai

Buying property for investment purposes is a gamble as the timing has to be perfect. No one wants to buy at the top of a market, for example. If, however, you are buying the apartment to live in then going ahead on this decision is determined by your affordability on current prices etc. If you are able to wait a while then this is also OK as I believe the market will potentially soften further. But don’t leave it too long, as I believe the market will return to positive territory probably after the end of the second quarter.

I moved into my apartment last September and until recently the letting agent managed the tenancy. Now the landlord has taken the property off the letting agent and the landlord will manage the property and wants to increase the rent when the tenancy contract expires in February. Are they allowed to do this? ZK, Dubai

Your landlord is entitled to a rental increase but only if this is what the Rera rental calculator states. Any changes to the contract at renewal (and this includes the rent), must be communicated in writing by giving 90 days’ notice. It would appear from your email that the landlord has missed this window, so therefore he is not entitled to any increase on the rent for the coming rental agreement, nor any other changes from the previous contract.

We are renting a villa and were informed by the landlord that it has been sold. He gave us the 12 months’ notice as required by law via public notary – our contract ends by May 2015. In his mail he gave us the new owner’s name and phone number. My question is: what is the next step? Our previous landlord still has one of our rent cheques. Is this between our previous landlord and the new owner to sort out and do we stay on until the end of our term? Do we contact the new owner? If he does not want to move in himself, he most probably wants to rent it out, so will that mean a potential increase in rent if we sign a new contract now? PP, Dubai

The existing rental cheque needs to be returned to you and you would then need to issue a new one to the new owner but call the landlord first to check exactly what they have decided to do.

If the new owner has bought the property as an investment, the only way you would be allowed to stay is if you pay the market rental rate, which is likely to be a lot more than what you are currently paying; this is presuming you have also been given the 12 months notice period from the previous landlord. There is always the possibility that the new owner may negotiate with you, so my suggestion is to get in touch as soon as possible.

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