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Tue 4 Oct 2016 01:57 PM

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Rent scam victims in Abu Dhabi need attested contracts

Move comes as 476 tenants in the UAE capital were duped between January 1 and September 30

Rent scam victims in Abu Dhabi need attested contracts

Rental scam victims in Abu Dhabi will not be able to seek legal assistance, starting 2017, if they don’t have attested tenancy contracts, according to a senior public prosecutor.

“Starting beginning of next year, Abu Dhabi Judicial Department will not accept rental fraud cases unless a duly attested tenancy contract is submitted,” Hassan Mohammad Al Hammadi, Head of the Financial Unit of the Public Prosecution Office at the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, told Gulf News.

The move follows after 99 per cent of rental fraud cases involved tenants who were duped by unscrupulous businessmen because they accepted contracts that were not attested by the Municipality.

As many as 476 tenants have been defrauded by ‘bogus’ landlords and property agents between January 1 and September 30, 2016, who rent one home to several families and then disappear before the scam is uncovered.

Cases of property fraud usually began with advertisements in property publications or on social media for an apartment or a villa for rent. Once victims have viewed the property, they are offered rent payment in a lump sum for a significant discount, the newspaper reported Al Hammadi saying. The fraudster continues to lease the same home to others before he shuts down his mobile phone and disappears.

Scammers can face up to three years in jail or a AED30,000 fine. Attempted property fraud is punishable by two years in jail or a fine of up to AED20,000, according to the Penal Code.

The public prosecutor said the primary responsibility lies with the tenants themselves, who must make an effort to check all documents of the landlord or agents.

Gulf News, however, reported that tenants in the capital cannot avoid attestation because duly attested tenancy contracts are required for electricity, water, phone and Internet connections, and sponsorship of families, among other formalities.

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Fentoni 3 years ago

I tried to get my rental contract attested and I can tell you it's not easy. The landlord has to register with Tawtheeq via Abu Dhabi Municipality. They then get a lessor account number, registered unit ID and a property ID. You will only find out there is a problem when you ask your landlord for this info and he says "What is a lessor account number?, how do I register?" You're then at the mercy of your landlord who needs to register and also needs to sign each page of the application. The only way of protecting yourself would be to fill in the Tawtheeq registration form with the lessor account number etc and the landlords signatures at the same time as signing the tenancy contract and who does that?

Veronica chapman 3 years ago

Easy, landlord should submit copy of their passports to say they are the owner of that building, or villa, and the tenancy contract
Should be the same name as on the passport. There are a lot of
Fraudsters out there, since Rera has come into force it has got better, but some keep slipping thro the net. Retired Real Estate Director experiencing over 35 years in the UAE...