Hello everyone

My name is Shoeb. I am an Indian lawyer practicing in UAE for the last 12 years. 

Please consider this explanation as general advice and take legal advice from the Dubai lawyer for your specific circumstances.

Today, we will look at the new query related to the refund of the security deposit while vacating the rented premises in Dubai.

Query

I am renting an apartment in Dubai for last 7 years which I am vacating now. The landlord is saying that he will deduct some amount from the security deposit as I have re-painted the apartment which is different from the color when I moved in. Also, I have done some drilling for fans, paintings, clocks, etc. 

Is Landlord within its right to deduct from the security deposit to restore the apartment?

Clarification:

For answering this query, the first point to consider is whether the tenant has taken permission to re-color the apartment or drill holes for installing fans, paintings, or clocks. 

If the answer is yes, then the landlord will not have any right to deduct any costs from the security deposit as he has approved such works.

This is provided in Article 21 of the Law No. 26 of 2007 regulating the relationship between landlord and tenants in the emirate of Dubai (the ‘Dubai Rent Law’)

“…the tenant shall not make any changes, renovations or maintenance works without landlord’s permission, and after obtaining necessary approvals from competent authorities…..”

Now assuming that you have not taken any permission from the landlord for such works, then it is your obligation to return the apartment in the same condition as it was handed over to you at the time of renting the apartment. This is provided in Article 21 of the Dubai Rent Law which states that

Article 21 

Tenant shall be obliged, upon expiry of tenancy, to return the property to the landlord in the same condition as handed over to him at the time of contracting except for normal wear and tear or for reasons beyond his control….

So, if you have re-colored the apartment and have done drilling for fixing, fans, painting, clocks, and other items, it is your responsibility to make the apartment in the same condition as it was at the time of renting. 

If not, the Landlord can deduct the costs for such works (i.e., to restore the apartment back to its original condition) from the security deposit.

In the above discussion, there may be an argument whether these changes are to considered as normal wear and tear which is allowed in the law and for which deduction cannot be made or these should not be considered as normal wear and tear and the deductions can be made from the security deposit.

This is a judgmental call based on the perception of the individual and may differ from person to person. If there is any dispute in the interpretation, the matter can be referred to the Dubai Rental Dispute Center for guidance or decision. 

For any further clarification, please contact your UAE Lawyer.