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Dubai villa tenant gets security deposit shock

A Dubai resident living in a villa said he was asked to produce an additional Dh15,000 security deposit for his villa’s utilities, prompting him to ask if the security deposit for villas in the emirate has been changed.

N.A. has been living in the seven-bedroom villa in Al Rafa area of Dubai for the past 11 years. Two years ago, he transferred the tenancy under his name, and with it, the utility and all other services.

Based on his receipts provided to Gulf News, N.A. had already deposited Dh5,110 and Dh4110 on two contract accounts with Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa), plus Dh4,000 on behalf of the owner on the same villa, making it a total of Dh13,000.

The SMSes were from Dewa to the tenant, who has lived in the seven-bedroom villa in Al Rafa for 11 years.

But in late August, he received this SMS from Dewa: “Dear Valued Customer, please pay Dh15,000 as an additional security deposit within seven days…”

“I didn’t have Dh15,000 with me then and I couldn’t produce it in seven days. This is a huge sum of money. If they can allow me to pay in instalments, it would be better,” N.A. told Gulf News.

Clearly stated on Dewa’s website, the security deposit for new tenants for villas is Dh4,000 while for flats it is Dh2,000.

When Gulf News called Dewa’s Customer Service, an agent said Dewa does study the usage of tenants and may require an additional security deposit if the average monthly usage exceeds the security deposit.

N.A. said that their villa is a shared accommodation with permission from their landlord but that their maximum monthly usage is Dh2,500 only, even during summer months. His two latest bills were Dh1,800 and Dh2,200.

Thinking the SMS asking him to give additional security deposit was a mistake, N.A. visited the Dewa head office to enquire.

“No one was able to help me at the head office and they said that I just have to pay the said amount. So has the security deposit been changed from the previous Dh4,000? I want to know.”

A Dewa spokesperson told Gulf News that the security deposits for flats and villas have not changed and that Dewa does not arbitrarily ask customers to top up security deposits. However, they confirmed that N.A.’s case is genuine and that an additional security deposit is needed.

“Dewa has investigated the enquiry received from Gulf News regarding security deposits after a complaint received from a customer living in a villa in Al Rafa area in Dubai,” Dewa said in an emailed statement to Gulf News.

“Dewa found out that the premises is a Multi-Family Accommodation and for this category, Dewa is requesting a refundable Dh20,000 security deposit. This step has been taken to protect both property owners and tenants against the accumulation of any outstanding debts or dues when moving out. We also would like to clarify and reiterate that the refundable security deposits for apartments and villas have not changed.”

After this investigation, N.A. said he borrowed money from friends and deposited the required amount with Dewa. He requested that in the future, Dewa would give ample time for residents to produce the required additional deposit, if at all, since not everyone can afford to shell out huge sums of money immediately.

Source: Gulf News

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