What should tenants look for in a prospective landlord?

Tenants

A lot has been said and written about what a landlord should look for in a tenant. MoneyCamel team proposes a discussion of the flip side of this question – What should tenants look for in a prospective landlord? In a property market like Dubai, which has witnessed rents shooting up in Freehold areas, and quite a few tenants being left with eviction notices in their hands in the past, it makes sense for tenants to do some landlord-screening.

It is crucial for tenants to do a background-check on their prospective landlords to reduce the chances of future disagreements and disputes. Your future landlord can either be an individual or an organization.

1. If the property that you have shortlisted is owned by a company/organization, as is the case for quite a few buildings and villa clusters, then you should try and find answers to the following questions:

Is the organization professional in its dealings? Are other tenants in the building/community satisfied?

To find some answers, your best bet would be to check the community blog or even knock on a few doors and ask around. You can ask current tenants about the quality of maintenance, if they faced any problems while renewing lease contracts and whether they have any complaints against the landlord.

2. If your prospective landlord is an individual, then you must try and personally meet him/her. You should make an effort to get to know your landlord before you sign off on the lease contract. Good two-way communication could be crucial in the future to help resolve minor disagreements. These are the important questions you need to ask:

Does the landlord own multiple properties or just one?

Landlords who own multiple properties are likely to be more hands on around the rental process, RERA laws and even issues that can come up with house maintenance. If the property is the only one owned by the landlord in Dubai, they could want to be more involved in smaller decisions about landscaping, small changes within the house, repairs etc.

What does the landlord do for a living?

Landlords who are doing well professionally and have a stable income will not be financially dependent on just their rental income. On the contrary, someone with an unstable income might want to evict tenants in the near future in hope of even a slightly higher rent.

What are the landlord’s future plans for the property – rent it, sell it or move into it?

If the landlord plans to move into the house later, he will be more particular about what you can or cannot do with the house. You could also be asked to move out sooner depending on the owner’s circumstances. If he plans to sell it soon, you will have to face the uncertainty of what the new owner wants to do with the property.

These are some additional points you can get clarification on, when you meet the landlord:

  • Property Maintenance: How will property maintenance work get handled? Does the landlord have a contract with a maintenance agency? A maintenance agency can provide immediate service thereby eliminating any inconvenience.
  • Furnished House. If the house is semi or fully-furnished, discuss with the landlord about moving certain things around, replacing the items that are not functional anymore, or if you would like to get rid of something that you don’t want in the house.

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