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I have just com­pleted the sale of my apart­ment in Abu Dhabi, where the buyer paid the usual 2 per cent com­mis­sion to the agent. In the early days of the process, the agent also sent me a con­tract to sign, re­quir­ing me to pay a fur­ther Dh10,000 to the agent as the seller. I re­fused to sign this and re­ceived a cou­ple of other emails, again in­di­cat­ing the Dh10,000 fee, which I again re­fused to ac­knowl­edge. My un­der­stand­ing is that it is the buyer’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to pay agent fees. I am now re­ceiv­ing threat­en­ing texts from the agent ask­ing me to pay up or they will take le­gal ac­tion. Am I li­able or for this Dh10,000 fee? It seems an ar­bi­trary num­ber and cer­tainly is not a set per­cent­age of the apart­ment cost. SW, Abu Dhabi

AIn the past, the obli­ga­tion to pay the bro­ker from the sale of a prop­erty did in fact fall just on the buyer; this is still true to this day. Hav­ing said that, there is grow­ing pres­sure on sell­ers to also pay a fee to their bro­ker, how­ever, this has to be agreed at the start of any deal. It is not ac­tu­ally il­le­gal for a bro­ker to charge both the buyer and seller, how­ever, this can only be done trans­par­ently and of course with every­one’s full ac­cep­tance.

Given you have en­gaged with your agent to ex­press your dis­plea­sure about this fee means you do not au­to­mat­i­cally have to pay it. Ex­plain to the agent that you did not agree to this seller’s fee, there­fore it can­not be paid. If he in­sists on threat­en­ing you with le­gal ac­tion, I would not worry too much. In any case if he does take it fur­ther, I’m cer­tain that you will be fine as you never agreed to pay a seller’s fee in the first place and a judge will take note of that.

My ten­ant’s con­tract is ex­pir­ing in Jan­uary and the rental in­dex al­lows for an in­crease in rent. If I de­cide to in­crease the rent, what is the mode of com­mu­ni­ca­tion to in­form my ten­ant about the in­crease? I was con­sid­er­ing send­ing him an email but was not too sure if it is valid or not. KM, Dubai

I’m sur­prised that the rental in­dex is al­low­ing an in­crease in your rent but this may mean you have been charg­ing a much lower rate than the mar­ket al­lows in the past. Nev­er­the­less, you can com­mu­ni­cate the po­ten­tial in­crease in rent in writ­ing. En­gag­ing in di­a­logue via email is a per­fectly ac­cept­able way of let­ting your ten­ant know of your in­ten­tion. The only time send­ing a no­ti­fi­ca­tion via no­tary pub­lic or reg­is­tered mail is nec­es­sary is when you wish your ten­ant to va­cate for rea­son of sell­ing or mov­ing in your­self.

Mario Volpi is the sales and leas­ing man­ager at En­gel & Volk­ers. He has worked in the prop­erty sec­tor for 34 years in Lon­don and Dubai. The opin­ions ex­pressed do not con­sti­tute le­gal ad­vice and are pro­vided for in­for­ma­tion only. Please send any ques­tions to [email protected]­gelvoelk­ers.com

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