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What should you do if your security deposit in the UAE is not paid back?

When a tenant’s contract expires in the United Arab Emirates, they often start looking for a new tenancy arrangement. While Ejari contracts have simplified the lives of both landlords and tenants, collecting the whole security deposit in the UAE can be challenging at times. When tenants move out, they can request a refund of their security deposit from their landlord. It occurs regularly and is unproblematic. However, the renter may not be aware of some deductions.

UAE Rental Law

  • The tenant may be forced to pay a security deposit at the start of the rental agreement if the landlord so chooses (which is often the case).
  • The security rent deposit serves as a kind of assurance for the receiver and can also be used to cover damages or destroyed property.
  • The landlord must return the security deposit to the tenant when the tenant decides to leave the property. It may be paid to the tenant either in whole or what is left after deductions.

Instructions to receive your Security Deposit

The amount deducted is entirely at the landlord’s discretion, as the law does not set any parameters for determining the total cost of damage or wear and tear. And these deductions can be unreasonable compared to a tenant’s security deposit refund in Dubai. However, getting a full security deposit refund in Dubai is still possible if the tenant does their due diligence and protects themselves by following a few simple rules.

To receive a refund of your security deposit in the United Arab Emirates, you must follow the following instructions.

  1. Carefully review the rental contract

In most cases, the landlord is compelled to return the whole security deposit to the renter if the tenant vacates the premises in the agreed-upon condition. As a result, it is necessary to study the tenancy agreement in the UAE carefully. In addition to detailing each party’s rights and responsibilities, the contract addresses certain (but not all) information important to rental security deposit claims.

  1. Obtain a ‘check-in’ and ‘check-out’ report at all times

Other vital papers included in the tenancy agreement are check-in and check-out reports. These reports feature photographs of the property’s condition before and after the renter moves in and out. These reports should be completed in the tenant’s presence and with the proof in hand.

It’s much simpler to identify any irregularities in the property’s condition and the extent of damage and wear and tear. If the wear and tear are minimal in the UAE, the renter is entitled to a full refund of their security deposit. If issues about the security deposit check repayment remain, the tenant should submit a formal complaint with the Dubai Rental Dispute Centre (RDC) of the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA). The Dubai Land Department’s RDC is a judicial arm that uses flexible mechanisms to handle rental disputes and other real estate-related concerns in the Emirate.

You should know: Termination of tenancy contract (by landlord)

  1. Understand the Rental Law

According to Article 20 of Law No. 26 of 2007 regulating the relationship between landlords and renters in the Emirate of Dubai (the ‘Rental Law’), the landlord must reimburse the security deposit to the tenant when the tenant vacates the unit. It unequivocally states that:

“When entering into a lease contract, the landlord may require a security deposit from the tenant to ensure that the property is maintained after the lease contract expires, provided that the landlord agrees to refund such deposit or the remaining portion thereof to the tenant after the lease contract expires.”

This particular requirement is made up of three key elements:

  • The landlord may require a security deposit from the tenant at the beginning of the tenancy agreement if they so choose (which is frequently the case).
  • The security rent deposit is used for ‘end-of-lease maintenance,’ which covers damage to the property caused during the tenant’s occupancy.
  • When the renter vacates the property, the landlord must fully restore the security deposit or whatever is left after deductions.
  1. All property-related expenses should be recorded

Keep track of the following from the moment you arrive at your Dubai rental home:

  • You are responsible for property repairs.
  • Personal expenses incurred in connection with the property.
  • All you have to do before moving out is return the property to its original state.

When you demand a security deposit refund in Dubai from your landlord, doing so will help you plead your case better.

Also Read more: An Overview of Filing a Rental Dispute Complaint at the Dubai Rental Dispute Centre

    5. The Tenant has a right of recourse

Tenants can register a formal complaint with the Dubai Rental Dispute Centre for a charge of 3.5 per cent of the property’s yearly rent, with a minimum of Dh500 ($136) and a maximum of Dh20,000 ($5,445), plus Dh320 ($87) in administrative fees. The Arbitration Department will try to resolve the dispute within 15 days, but a lawsuit will be necessary if that fails. Within 30 days, a decision is expected.

For further advice, please don’t hesitate to contact our Property lawyers in Dubai 


Hazim Darwish

Hazim Darwish, is a Senior Partner of HHS Lawyers in UAE. Practicing law for almost a decade, he has in-depth knowledge on UAE legislation with particular expertise on legal drafting, contract drafting, labor disputes, family law, and regulatory compliance for business organizations. Hazim Darwish also provides counsel on legal rights and obligations in the UAE to clients, including individuals and businesses subject to investigation or prosecution under Criminal Law by major regulators.