Can­celling an off-plan con­tract de­pends on com­pany pol­icy

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q Last week I started deal­ing with a de­vel­oper to buy a prop­erty. As it is off-plan, they asked for 30 per cent for the ini­tial book­ing pay­ment. The com­mit­ment is to then pay the rest of the amount on com­ple­tion. Af­ter the ini­tial form was signed, they sent me a con­tract, which had a num­ber of con­flicts with what was promised ver­bally – these in­cluded is­sues with the park­ing space, man­age­ment ser­vice charges, other fees etc. I re­fused to sign this agree­ment. How can I can­cel the deal and take my first in­stal­ment back from the es­crow ac­count? EV, Dubai

a At this point, all I can say is that you need to read the con­tract very care­fully to see what pro­vi­sions it has (if any) in case of can­cel­la­tion. Clearly, if your dis­cus­sions about park­ing, man­age­ment ser­vice charges, fees etc are not prop­erly rep­re­sented on the con­tract as you were led to be­lieve, there has to be a valid ex­pla­na­tion for this. If the re­sult is that you are still not happy, you have the right to can­cel. Get­ting your money back will be de­ter­mined by the can­cel­la­tion pol­icy of the de­vel­oper. I hope this doesn’t turn out to be an ex­pen­sive di­vorce.

My flat­mate, who signed a one-year con­tract with me, has de­cided she wants to move out. How­ever she has not given me any no­tice nor has she in­formed the land­lord. She hasn’t paid her rent yet and is look­ing to move out be­fore the three-month rent is due. Can she ac­tu­ally do this? Is she break­ing the con­trac­tual law that was signed when agree­ing the con­tract? Would I be li­able to pay what she owes? Can I take her to court if she leaves the prop­erty? SH, Dubai From the in­for­ma­tion given, I de­duce that you are sub­leas­ing from her? Any rental agree­ment is be­tween the land­lord and the ten­ant; you be­ing a po­ten­tial sub-ten­ant will only have rights if the land­lord is aware of you and your agree­ment. If not, and she still wants to move out early, this means she is li­able for what­ever penal­ties there are within the con­tract. As far as I can see, the only rea­son­able so­lu­tion would be if she stays on un­til another per­son can be found to take over her con­tract (as­sum­ing the land­lord agrees). In an ideal world, com­mu­ni­ca­tion is key, so in­form the land­lord of what is hap­pen­ing and, more im­por­tantly, what you are do­ing about it. Re­mem­ber that if the land­lord is not aware you are sub-leas­ing, your con­tract be­comes null and void any­way, so I would con­cen­trate on sort­ing this out, rather than thinking about tak­ing her to task.

I have bought an off-plan prop­erty from a de­vel­oper. When I asked them for the Dubai Land Depart­ment (DLD) regis­tra­tion (Oqood) they gave me a scanned copy only, say­ing they can’t give me the hard copy. I have a few ques­tions on this: 1. Is it pos­si­ble to ver­ify the gen­uine­ness of the cer­tifi­cate from the DLD? 2. Does the DLD only is­sue one copy of the cer­tifi­cate? 3. Can one party change the con­tents of the cer­tifi­cate af­ter is­sue? UM, Dubai Un­for­tu­nately there are no real ver­i­fi­ca­tion pro­cesses for Oqood such as there is for ti­tle deeds. The only way would be to go to the Dubai Land Depart­ment in per­son armed with the sale and pur­chase agree­ment to show proof of in­ter­est in the prop­erty. Only one copy is is­sued. Oqoods are like ti­tle deeds in that the Land Depart­ment does not want too many of them float­ing around for fear of fraud.

The straight­for­ward an­swer to your last point should be no. One party ought not to be able to uni­lat­er­ally al­ter the con­tents af­ter is­sue.

Mario Volpi is the chief sales of­fi­cer for Kens­ing­ton Ex­clu­sive Prop­er­ties and has worked in the prop­erty in­dus­try for more than 30 years in Lon­don and Dubai. The opin­ions ex­pressed do not con­sti­tute le­gal ad­vice and is pro­vided for in­for­ma­tion only. Please send any ques­tions to mario.volpi@kens­ing­ton.ae.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tion is key, so in­form the land­lord of what is hap­pen­ing

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