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Jail for landlords who switch off utility services

UAE landlords who switch off tenants’ water and electricity can face up to three years in prison,

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UAE landlords who switch off tenants’ water and electricity can face up to three years in prison, it has been reported.

As well as jail, the disconnection of basic amenities in apartments can result in a fine of $817 (AED3,000) or both, according to a senior Rental Disputes Centre (RDC) judge.

“Disconnecting basic amenities, such as water and electricity, very often resulted in impairment of the use of the property, e.g. air conditioning units becoming inoperable,” said Provisional and Summary Actions Judge Khalil Mustafa, reported Emirates 24/7.

"Disconnection of services is considered a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment, a fine or both, since this action impairs basic human needs and the living conditions of the second party (tenant).

An RDC mechanism for receiving such complaints after official working hours was set to launch in August, said the report, citing the Emarat Al Youm Arabic newspaper.

The centre’s objective is to reduce rental suits by spreading awareness on this type of issue. In cases of disconnection, a tenant should inform the police, provided it was proven by a “Determination of Fact”, and then sue the landlord, it said.

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