Dubai: Can Landlord Deduct Money For Wear And Tear From Tenant's Security Deposit?

(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Published: Sun 4 Jun 2023, 8:19 AM

Last updated: Sun 4 Jun 2023, 8:33 AM

Question: How do you define 'reasonable' wear and tear for rental properties in Dubai? I am moving out of my apartment next month, and other than faded paint and some low-key drilling work (for clocks, paintings etc.), there has been no structural damage. Can the landlord deduct anything from my security deposit? If he does, can I contest it? If so, how?

Answer: Pursuant to your query, as you reside in a rented apartment in Dubai, the provisions of Law No. 26 of 2007 Regulating the Relationship between the Landlord and Tenants in the Emirate of Dubai are applicable.

It is the responsibility of a tenant to maintain a rented apartment in good condition and may not make any restoration or maintenance works without obtaining the permission of the landlord and necessary permissions from the competent authorities. This is in accordance with Article 19 of the Dubai Rent Law, which states,“A tenant must pay the rent on its due dates and must maintain the real property in a good condition as a reasonable person would maintain his own property. Without prejudice to the tenant's obligations to carry out any restoration that is agreed upon or which is customary for tenants to undertake, the tenant may not make any changes to carry out any restoration or maintenance works in the real property without obtaining the permission of the landlord and the necessary licenses from the competent official entities.”

Moreover, while vacating a rented apartment, a tenant needs to hand over the possession of a rented apartment to a landlord in the same condition as received by a tenant from the landlord, except for reasonable wear and tear. This is in accordance with Article 21 of the Dubai Rent Law, which states,“Upon expiry of the term of a rent contract, the tenant must surrender possession of the real property to the landlord in the same condition in which the tenant received it at the time of entering into the rent contract, except for ordinary wear and tear or any damage sustained due to reasons beyond the Tenant's control. Where a dispute between the parties arises in this regard, it shall be referred to the Tribunal to issue its decision on the same.”

A landlord is obligated to refund the security deposit collected by a tenant while vacating the rented apartment. This is under Article 20 of the Dubai Rent Law, which states,“When entering into a rental contract, a landlord may collect from the tenant a security deposit for the purpose of maintenance of the real property upon the expiry of the rent contract. The landlord must refund this deposit or the balance thereof of the tenant upon expiry of the rent contract.”

Based on the aforementioned provisions of law, faded paint in the wall, drilling work to fix household items, paintings, clocks etc may be considered as reasonable wear and tear. Therefore, your landlord should refund your entire security deposit at the time of vacating the rented apartment. However, in the event your landlord terms the drilling of walls and faded paints are not reasonable wear and tear and deducts a certain portion of the amount from your security deposit while refunding it to you or if he does not refund the security deposit, then you may approach the Rental Dispute Centre of Dubai and file a complaint against your landlord for not refunding your security deposit and the Centre will issue its verdict on your complaint.

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: Readers may e-mail their questions to: or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.


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