Sharjah: Can I get a refund on advance rent payment if I end tenancy contract early?
The money may be returned if a provision in the lease allows for it
Question: I was staying in a hotel apartment in Sharjah on a yearly contract. I had paid the year's rent in advance, on the understanding that I would be refunded the remaining amount if I did not stay in the room for the whole year. I vacated the room in May and am yet to receive over Dh7,800 that's due to me. Please advise how I can get the amount.
Answer: Pursuant to your queries, as you were residing in a rented hotel apartment in Sharjah, the provisions of Sharjah Law No. 2 of 2007 on Regulating the Relationship Between Landlord and Tenant in the Emirate of Sharjah (Sharjah Rental Law) and the Resolution of the Executive Council Number (2) of 2010 of Sharjah (Amended Sharjah Rental Law) are applicable.
It should be noted that in Sharjah, the tenant may not terminate the rent agreement with the landlord and the tenancy contract will continue till the end of the contract period. In the event of early termination of the contract by a tenant, he/she is obligated to compensate the landlord. This is in accordance with Article 22 of the Amended Sharjah Rental Law which states:
"Without prejudice to Article 22 of the Sharjah Rental Law:
1. If the lease is for a fixed period, the tenant may ask for termination of such lease, before the expiration of its period if it is proven by the tenant that there are unexpected force majeure events that make the execution impossible;
2. The committee, may if it is content with such force majeure events, terminate the contract by obligating the tenant to pay compensation to the landlord in an amount not less than thirty percent (30%) of rental of the remaining period of the lease contract unless otherwise agreed by parties;
3. The plaintiff shall pay the compensation set out in paragraph (1) above. The committee shall not instruct to deliver the postdated cheques or advance rentals to the tenant unless such tenant delivers the leased premises free from anything and on the date determined by the committee;
4. If the landlord is the one who has asked to terminate the contract, then the tenant will not be forced to return the leased premises until he receives the compensation or obtains a sufficient security to be determined by the committee taking into account the humanitarian conditions.
5. The lease contract terminates legally in case the plaintiff pays the full compensation mentioned in paragraph (1) above unless otherwise settled by parties. If the plaintiff fails to pay the compensation in a deadline, then the committee shall reject the claim and oblige the plaintiff to pay the previous rentals to the landlord unless they have been paid by the plaintiff through cheques or rentals under the possession of the defendant (landlord); and
6. Provisions of this Resolution shall apply to all claims where no final judgement has delivered to them on the date of issuance of this Resolution."
Based on the aforementioned provision of law, if you and your landlord have agreed in the tenancy contract that advance rent will be refunded for the period not used by you, then that amount must be refunded. However, if the same is not in writing, you are obligated to compensate the landlord for early termination of the rent contract. For more clarifications regarding the said matter it is recommended that you approach the Rent Regulation Department located at the Sharjah City Municipality.
Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom and India. Full details of his firm on: www.amalawyers.com. Readers may e-mail their questions to: email@example.com or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.
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