Hundreds swindled in Dubai property scam

Hamptons launches investigation, hundreds of tenants face eviction
Hundreds swindled in Dubai property scam
By Claire Valdini
Thu 06 Sep 2012 09:10 AM

Hundreds of Dubai residents are facing eviction after falling victim to a huge property scam in the emirate.

Tenants in Emaar’s The Greens said they had been left in limbo after Dubai-based Shamyana Entertainment Services cashed rental cheques but failed to pass the full amount onto the landlord.

Tenants claimed that Shamyana’s owner has since fled the country.

“I’m going to lose my apartment and AED100,000 (US$27,200),” said a British expat who renewed her contract for a property in the Fairways in June but has since been unable to contact the company.

Arabian Business spoke to several tenants who had either signed tenancy contracts with Shamyana or rented their property using a separate agent who informed them that the entertainment company managed the property on behalf of an overseas landlord.

Mounir Wehbi moved into his Greens apartment in March after signing a tenancy contract with Shamyana. A broker from Hamptons contacted him this week to tell him his agreement was illegal.

“From what I understand the owner of Shamyana took one cheque from us and gave the landlord four cheques but there was a problem on the payments two or three days ago,” he said.

It is understood that Hamptons, owned by Emaar, originally leased the apartments to Shamyana, though last night the company said it was investigating the matter.

“As with others involved in providing property services, Hamptons MENA acted in good faith in leasing out a few apartments to Shamyana Entertainment Services. These apartments were to be used only for the company’s staff accommodation purposes, as per the rental agreement.

“Following reports of inconsistency, we requested the residents in these apartments to present their tenancy contracts, when it was learnt that several of them were illegally sub-let by Shamyana to others.

“We are currently investigating the matter and will work with the concerned authorities to address the same.”

Around 60 tenants met on Wednesday after hearing about the scam via social networking sites such as Facebook and Expat Woman.

One British expat, who paid AED115,000 in one cheque for a one-bedroom property, was told by a third party on Sunday that her tenancy contract was illegal. The broker claimed Shamyana had rented the property through them for its employees.

“It’s been quite horrendous for me; I am basically subletting,” she said. “The agent told the landlord and he said if the tenant cannot pay the rent on the remaining amount then I will have to move out.”

Shamyana, which is described as an entertainment company on its website, was not available for comment. Telephone calls to Dubai Municipality’s Rental Committee were not answered when contacted by Arabian Business.

Landlord Kelly Cartwright, who rented her one-bedroom apartment in The Greens for AED85,000 through a separate broker, discovered that Shamyana had sublet the property to another tenant for AED115,000.

“They got one cheque but they charged her four cheques so she has paid for the whole year and we have been paid for six months. Our next cheque is due in five weeks, which we assume will bounce, so we are two cheques down with only got six months’ rent.

“We were advised to contact the person living there to see if we could come to a private arrangement if we can, which I think we have,” she added.

For all the latest real estate news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.