Avoiding exploitation when seeking Dubai properties for rent Those in search of apartments for rent in Dubai are quite familiar with the ups and downs of the realty scene out there. After about two years of recession where the rental rates virtually hit rock bottom, the situation is showing some signs of stability. This has lead to the availability of fantastic properties whose rents are below market value. However, with the market rebounding at a fast pace, such enticing deals may not be around for too long. Sadly, the improved demand supply conditions are leading to some unsavoury developments. Reports are pouring in from various quarters in the city of landlords charging arbitrary and often unreasonable amounts on those seeking an early discontinuation on their rent contracts. In most cases, the rent agreement has all the terms and conditions clearly listed out for the benefit of both, tenants as well as landlords. However, tenants are reporting that landlords are going beyond the provisions and agreement of the rent contract to levy charges as per their whims. Many tenants have begun questioning the validity of such ad-hoc actions that seek to add riders to a contract AFTER it has been signed. The imposition of such riders is quite in contrary to the established norms and is being viewed as nothing more than an attempt by landlords to extort additional charges from tenants. One of the key thought motives behind the development of the rent contract was to protect the interests of property owners. The realty rental market had been governed by the external economic climate. As things got tough and finances dried up, tenants began abandoning residential as well as commercial units in droves. This had a cumulative impact on an entire industry that revolved round the demand and supply of Dubai properties for rent. But, the recent reports on the exploitation of tenants by unscrupulous property owners are being viewed as highly counterproductive. Such behaviour by owners will only serve to kill the revival in demand that is only recently being seen in the market. A foolproof way to counter such exploitative tactics by unscrupulous landlords is by going through the fine print in the rent contract with extra care. Each term and condition mentioned in the contract must be as per the law and satisfactory explanation must be provided for any query related to the same. The entire due diligence must be undertaken PRIOR to the signing of the contract. The Dubai Land Department (DLD) in keeping with its progressive nature has proposed for the registration of every rental contract. This move is being proposed to safeguard the interests of both, tenants as well as property owners from misuse. While every new contract from 2012 comes under the ambit of this rule, existing contracts will have to fall in line, come renewal time. The government too stands to gain from such an exercise. It will enable monitoring functions of the rental industry, thereby facilitating better compliance among tenants and landlords alike. It would also lead to improved governance standards with time, thereby creating a win-win situation for all stakeholders involved.