Whilst moving to the UAE encompasses a variety of stages; leaving Dubai, Abu Dhabi or anywhere in the UAE can involve just as many procedures and formalities. Cutting corners is at best likely to add stress and leave you out of pocket, and worse case could leave you legally compromised, possibly preventing you from visiting or transiting through the UAE or the wider Gulf region.

In the first of three parts, we focus on your home and utilities.

Finalising things at home

If your house/apartment is leased or rented and you are leaving the UAE, there are some issues you will need to address.

Firstly, you have to clarify when the rental period specified in your contract runs its course. Depending on your circumstances you will be faced with one of the following options.

1. Wait for your contract to end
In an ideal scenario, your departure dates coincide with the end of your rental contract. First – notify your landlord in writing at least 90 days prior to the end of the contract of your intent to vacate the premises, and that you will not be renewing the lease, (this is normally done via the real estate company).

2. Terminating your contract early
In many cases people leave the UAE at short notice, or with less than 3 months warning, often meaning that through no fault of their own they are unable to complete the full rental term stipulated in the contacts.  Unfortunately, rental laws in the UAE do not provide a specific rule for early contract termination. You will need to refer to your tenancy contact for any penalties for exit clauses in relation to breaking the contract. There is likely to be a 2 to 3 months (payment of rent) penalty and so at this stage, you need to talk with your landlord (or have the real estate company do so on your behalf). The landlord is not legally obliged to do you any favours so exhaust all avenues of reaching an amicable agreement.

3. Look for a replacement tenant
Assuming negotiations do not go well, there is one more option which may prove worthwhile. Some landlords may be willing to overlook any penalties mentioned in the contract if you are able to provide a new tenant. Again the landlord is not obliged to accept this, but it has worked for many people who plan on leaving the UAE at relatively short notice. It is important to ensure transfer of the agreement with the relevant authorities is completed and deposits and post-dated cheques are returned to you before you complete the process.

If you reside in Dubai and have concerns about your rights, call the RERA Conflict Centre on 800 44 88 or email info@dubailand.gov.ae.
Regardless of which option you end up putting into place, you will need to ensure the following tasks are completed before the process is complete.

Pay off and cancel all utilities *see below for more details – Make certain you receive certificates/receipts to confirm everything has been finalised and that you have received any outstanding deposits.

Cancel TV subscription/internet and mobile services – Again ensure everything is documented and deposits have been refunded.

Ejari – Your tenancy contract will have been registered with Ejari (the online portal which the government requires all tenancy contracts to be registered with). It is important to obtain proof the contract has been terminated and cleared from the Ejari system. A screenshot of the system is commonly used for this purpose. This is important because it legally frees you from any financial obligation in future to the property.

Return your house/apartment in good order – Patch holes, clean/repaint marks from walls/repair any damage/wear and tear. It is going to be cheaper to arrange this personally or subcontract a handyman, rather than leave this to the landlord, who may charge an exorbitant fee which will be deducted from any deposit he/she is holding.

Return keys and get your deposit – This is often handled by the real estate company and may involve the return of any post-dated cheques if the agreement has been ended before the end of the contract.

*More information on closing your utilities – Make sure you have plenty of copies of your passport (especially residence visa pages), and your Emirates ID. You are going to need these (at least) in order to close any services down. Another document which may be required is a letter of ‘No objection’ issued by your landlord.

Internet/mobile service providers

Both available providers Etisalat and Du will allow you to initiate the process of cancelling services by telephone.

Etisalat

You will be penalised if you are terminating a post-paid mobile contract, which will be deducted from your deposit. Call 800 101 to start the process. You will need to visit any Etisalat store to complete the process – Etisalat store locator here.

Du

Start by calling Du on 800 155. A member of their customer service will contact you within 48 hours to assist you in completing the process. Once this is done you can visit a customer care centre to finalise your bill and claim any remaining deposit. There are several centres dotted around the country including most of the major shopping malls and also Dubai Media City – you can find all Du store locations in the UAE here.

Electricity and water

Part of the process of vacating your home is to officially disconnect your electricity and water from the grid. The easiest way to do this is to initiate the process online. You will need to login to do this. At the same time you can request your final bill and also request the disconnection date (normally, the disconnection will occur within 24 hours of your requested date).

Finally make arrangements to visit the relevant office (DEWA in Dubai, SEWA in Sharjah and ADWEA in Abu Dhabi). Form there you will be able to collect your deposit (the final bill will be deducted from the deposit).

Cooling services

Finalising your account with Emicool requires you to visit one of the Emicool offices to submit the documents mentioned below. After submitting the required documents, Emicool will conclude your final bill within three to five working days. The final bill amount will be deducted from your security deposit. The remaining amount of the security deposit will then be refunded to you by cheque. Security Deposit Refund: Please be informed that the remaining amount of your security deposit will be refunded by cheque. This cheque can only be issued under the tenant’s name. In cases where the tenancy was under a company’s name, kindly note that the cheque will be issued under the company’s name as well. Therefore, an authorization letter on company letter head is required stating the name and Emirates ID number of the authorized person collecting the cheque. This letter as well as the Emirates ID has to be presented to our Customer Service Representative at the time of collecting the cheque.

If tenant is an individual:
1. Cancellation Form (signed by tenant and landlord with cut-off date)
2. Tenancy Agreement Copy (first and last agreement if tenancy longer than one year)
3. Valid Passport Copy including signature page + Visa Page of the Tenant (in case of UAE nationals, visa page is not applicable)
4. Emirates ID copy (front & back)
5. Original Security Deposit Receipt
6. Copy of Emicool Contract

If tenant is a company:
1. Cancellation Form (signed and stamped by tenant and landlord with cut-off date)
2. Tenancy Agreement Copy (first and last agreement if tenancy longer than one year)
3. Valid Trade License Copy
4. Valid Passport Copy including signature page + Visa Page of the Authorized Signatory as per Trade License (in case of UAE nationals, visa page is not applicable)
5. Original Security Deposit Receipt
6. Copy of Emicool Contract