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Dispute over rent in Deira goes before committee.

Byline: Sunita Menon, Staff Reporter

Dubai: Over eighty tenants in Deira and their landlord have locked horns over an eviction threat. The case has now been referred to the rent committee.

Allegations made by the landlord are of non-payment of rents while the tenants are denying these allegations and claim that the landlord refused to accept their cheques and has now resorted to harassing them.

The tenants told Gulf News that their dispute with the landlord began in October last year when he decided to convert the residential building into hotel apartments.

Hani Zaitoun, a tenant, said: "We had approached our landlord in September last year for renewal of contract but he refused, stating that he [planned] to convert the place into ... hotel apartment[s] and that we tenants should vacate the place in a month. We then approached the rent committee and the case went in our favour under which the landlord was asked to renew our contract unconditionally. We have got proof ... When we approached the landlord again with our cheques he just refused to take them. A letter and copies of the cheques were sent to him but he refused to proceed."

The tenants said that they approached the rent committee again but were informed that the committee does not collect rent.

Mahmoud Sait, another tenant, said: "The matter just persisted and things went on and since then the landlord continued to trouble us in one way or the other. The garbage was piled up and then the septic tank had overflowed. One evening all of a sudden we found our building parking being closed as a result of some maintenance work."

On Sunday the tenants received a letter from their landlord requiring them to pay the pending rent from Septmber 2008 within 48 hours. Another tenant, who did not want to be named, said the owner has also asked all satellite dishes be removed from the roof.

Ali Nasser Al Owais, the landlord, told Gulf News that the tenants together owed him Dh3 million in rent. "They lived in my building for two years without paying rents. Some of these tenants have also sub-let their rooms. I am paying Dh100,000 [in] air-conditioning bills. Why should I bear all these expenses? Their complaint of closing the car park is also not true because I have procured a letter from the municipality to carry out maintenance."

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Jun 3, 2009
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