‘A hammering pain: I can’t live in my rented apartment because of loud noise’

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Hammer
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Dubai: Everyone expects to come back home after a long day at work to an evening of peace and quiet. However, what happens if there are unexpected disturbances in your residential area, making it hard for you to live peacefully? A Gulf News reader wrote in asking this question.

He said: “I recently rented an apartment and four days after I moved in, I started hearing a hammering noise from the floor above ours, on and off, on a daily basis. I raised a complaint regarding this issue but nothing was done by the landlord or building management to repair it. In fact, they told me that I am the only one who can hear this noise. Now, I wish to move out of this apartment in 60 days, without paying the penalty of Dh8,000 because I was not notified about this issue with the apartment. However, the landlord is not agreeing to cancel the contract early. What are my rights as a tenant? I would like to seek your assistance in this regard.”

Gulf News raised the query with Hari Wadhwana, Associate at Dubai-based law firm OGH Legal, who said that being able to enjoy a peaceful possession of a residential unit is a tenant’s right.

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“If you are denied this right, then there is a serious breach on the part of the landlord,” he said.

The reader actually has a claim in law against the landlord for denying him peaceful possession of the premises. Clearly, noise in the property is contrary to peaceful possession.

– Hari Wadhwana, Associate at Dubai-based law firm OGH Legal

What the law says

The UAE’s Federal laws and Dubai’s tenancy laws clearly lay down the rights of a tenant with regards to a residential unit that he or she is renting out.

Article 770 of Federal Law No. 5 of 1985 states: “The lessor [landlord] or anyone who lets out a property] may not do anything which disturbs the lessee [tenant] in his enjoyment of the leased object during the term of the lease, and shall not make any alterations to it that prevent or disturb such enjoyment, otherwise he shall be held liable under his warrant. The lessor not only warrants the lessee against his own acts and against those of his servants but also against any disturbance or damage based on a lawful claim by any other lessee or by any successor in title to the lessor.

“Similarly, Article 15 of the Dubai Law No. 26 of 2007 provides for the landlord to provide the property in a good useable condition,” Wadhwana said.

Article 15 of Dubai Law No. 26 of 2007

The Landlord shall be committed to handover the real estate in useable good condition that enables the tenant to acquire the benefit subject of the lease contract.

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“With reference to these laws, the reader actually has a claim in law against the landlord for denying him peaceful possession of the premises. Clearly, noise in the property is contrary to peaceful possession. Secondly, I would suggest that the reader issue a formal email to the landlord along with a recording or a voice message, which establishes that there is a noise inside the apartment. Please ensure not to record any third party’s face or voice without their consent, as this may attract penal penalties against you. This should satisfy the landlord about the disturbance,” Wadhwana added.

How to file a complaint?

If an amicable settlement cannot be reached, the tenant can file a case with rental dispute settlement centres, which adjudicate cases between tenants and landlords in each emirate, except free zones.

Free zones have special judicial committees or courts competent to settle rent disputes emerging inside their boundaries.

If you wish to file a dispute with the RDSC, you must provide the following documents:

– Passport and Emirates ID or commercial licence

– Passport and Emirates ID of the landlord/ or commercial licence of the company

– Copy of the lease agreement

– Recent electricity bills

– Title Deed and passport copy of landlord

– Any other documentation that can help support your case

What does it cost?

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

– Translation costs (approximately Dh70 per page, however costs may vary)

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– Additional administration costs (approx. Dh110)

Rental dispute centres in the UAE

Dubai

Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi Rent Dispute Settlement Committee

Sharjah

Sharjah Rental Dispute Committee

Rent Regulation Department, Near Sharjah Cricket Stadium

Ajman

Ajman Rent Dispute Committee

How long will the process take?

Once you file a dispute, the length of the case may vary, depending on the complexity. However, the case could even be settled in the first session.



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