Residential leases - breach of contract by agency
I took a flat on a short lease until my wife arrives and we find something better. I'm thinking 3 months was the best idea I had, given what has transpired since I moved in.
The ensuite bathroom had absolutely no water pressure, so I can't use it. The maintenance guy came and turned up the pressure while I was at work. I came home and the bedroom was full of steam... I opened the door to the ensuite and there was hot water spraying everywhere from a poorly sealed bath faucet. I called the agent, no answer. I called the agency, no answer. I called the property manager, no answer. So I went for a nice relaxing dinner. 3 hours later, I SMSed the property manager and told him the bathroom was flooding all day and no one would answer so I left. 30 seconds later, he SMSed me back the maintenance guy's tel (just the number, no 'sorry' or anything), and luckily the maintenance guy was nice enough to come and fix the faucet that evening. Unfortunately even now the pressure is insufficient to use the shower - it just dribbles down from the shower head. Now the maint guy is suggesting a 'new pump at tenant's cost'. BS!
The lease includes local telephone and cable TV, neither of which work, both of which have been "fixed" by the agency's maintenance guy. My agent told me they are both Q-Tel and that the landlord forgot to pay the bill so they shut off. That's also BS because according to the maintenance man, the other units in the building work fine.
The laundry machine's drain hose in the kitchen was conveniently tucked away when I surveyed with the agent initially, then simply run across the center of the kitchen floor to the drain on the day I moved in. With much coaxing, the maintenance guy has now run a pipe to the under-sink drain, so the cover is back on the floor drain. Again, a fix that doesn't work becuase I ran the laundry for the first time last night since his repair and the whole kitchen flooded from the drain up.
My wife arrives this week and I do not want her to be stuck in a suite with no telephone (so I will get her a handphone right away). The land line would be nice for me to order DSL for her though, as would working cable TV.
Last, they did not clean the dust left over from wall patching and painting, you can see it thick on top of light switches, etc. from below where they sanded, and a light layer on all the horizontal surfaces in the flat.
The maintenance guy is the only one who ever answers his phone. He's been nice up to now but now he thinks the work is "done", when it is far from. His forte is plumbing (which leaks and floods), so perhaps it's best he doesn't touch the wiring after all.
So, my question to all the real estate gurus here is:
a. how can I break a lease on grounds of poor maintenance/property not as promised, and recover my deposit and pro-rata rent,
b. what happens if I am evicted (for any reason), and
c. is there any recourse with the landlord, bypassing the agency he has chosen completely?
I know in Qatar there are no proper landlord/tenant laws like in the Western world, so I am not optimistic. If someone can point me to what absymal lease law Qatar DOES have, online or send me a pdf, I would appreciate it.
I'd also be more than happy to divuldge the agency and landlord's name off these forums, since they've already lost any remote hope of ever getting business from my employer, who brings engineers into Qatar to work for oil companies and needs to rent new flats on a regular basis.
Thanks all for your help and comments, sorry for the novel...
1. 7000/mo FF 2-bedroom flat in Madinat Khalifa area.
2. Correct, although if I have to stay there for 3 months it's better than staying for 12! I'm about 2 weeks into it now. I just want what's best for my wife who arrives May 2.
3. No. Naive on my part indeed! I haven't rented in years (I owned back home), and at least maintenance at home was grounds for resolution if there was no upkeep.
* my contract states "2 bedroom furnished apartment or $2000/mo allowance", but I think if I ask my employer to find something it won't be to my taste (all my collegues are Indian, have children, and are also getting less allowance, so I feel bad asking).
dweller: agreed, I thought Ayman would be the first to post but I wasn't sure if there may be some lawyers on the boards as well (I must be truly naive if I think a lawyer will offer free advice to the public ;oP).
His collegue who has shown me some other flats in the past did call me shortly after my post though, so chances are he read it and asked him to call me :o)
The British Embassy provide a list of approved lawyers. I know that there are some that would offer some free advice.
Good luck and I hope you have success in nailing the greedy b*astrds
Thank you Ayman, but you answered only 1 out of 3 points.
Sorry about the siesta thing, it was in Spanish, it means 'a nap', normally carried out after lunch when the temperature gets unbearably hot. It is dreadful when you're in Europe, and you need to go to the Bank or something, between 1 and 3 pm (or is it between 2 and 5 pm, don't remember), but may be you don't have this problem in Doha.
The sidekick referred to a friend that VW found not too knowledgable about the general procedures.
Anywayz, hope to hear from you soon for the balance of the points, when you get less busy.
you should receive the un-cashed cheques back
Cheers all, much appreciated.
The mobilization for my wife is already past point of no return. Also, it has been 4 months since we have seen each other, and our 1st wedding anniversary is May 12, so she's coming on the 2nd or I am a dead man!
After 1-2 days settling, she can go looking for suitable long-term accommodation for us. Since finding accommodation in Doha is a full-time job, and yes I do have work to do ;o), it would be better if my wife does this. With other agencies of course!
I will rent her a car when she arrives and get a GSM handphone as well, in an effort to give her options while I continue my plight with the agency.
Those are the 3 points that I can find in your post:
1- Is that normal for all housing leases in Qatar? There is nothing called normal cause it might be a special agreement between the landlord and the agent.
You sign with the agent, and issue the cheques to the owner? why not! everything is possible as I mentioned earlier.
If you're evicted, can't you simply go to the bank and cancel the posdated cheques? not that simple cause the owner will report him to the police.
I think this is what happened, the owner had an agreement with the agent to prepare the contracts (signed by the agent) and to collect the checques (which it will be in the name of the owner) and all this for a percentage of the collection and renting commession, but who is taking care of the mainenance? I believe it is the agent and you should try to get the contact of the owner and tell him about your problems.
I am really sorry for what happened to you and you and all of the other members should know something, the real estate agents are hopless when it comes to the mainenance as it is not their job unless they manage the property.
My only advice is to threaten the property manager that you will sue him and the landlord for the poor maintenance unless they fix everything or they cancel the contract, you have to have a loud voice here in order to get what you want.
Give me a call and tell me what will happen.
VW, i totally sympatize with you. I am not a real estate guru, but i have a few questions for you, to better understand the situation :
1. How much was the rent ?
2. You are trying to break a 3-month lease, is that it ?
3. Did you check the workability of every plumbing, electrical, phone, cable, A/C fixture before you agreed to sign-in ?
I think it was stated by several posters on this site that, if your housing is not provided/handled/maintained/negotiated/etc by your employer, specially in 2006, year of the Asian Games, then you will be definitely taken to the cleaners by the greedy landlords/agents etc.
** A better choice for all, is to stay in your home country **
** By all means, do not come to Qatar if your housing is not provided in your contract. The additional stress created by this issue is not worth the trouble of relocating **
This morning I awoke to no power in the building. At 6:30 the power company started digging up the road next to the flat and turned off the power. Shaving and showering in the dark is a fun time.
Not the agency's fault of course, but now I am starting to wonder if God is angry with me! ;oP
On the good side, an agency rep dropped off a new vacuum cleaner yesterday, so I can vacuum up the drywall dust and spider carcasses!
... if the power is back on when I get home...
VW, Ayman is a responsible person, he'll be back, may be he's having a siesta, but watch his sidekick, specially if his not so swift.
Moonbeam's data will be real handy on this site, thanx.
Thanks for calling us a scum...
It seems that most of the tenants in Qatar don't know the rules here.
Moudir is right with the steps he mentioned, the problem that most of the owners don't allow the real estate agents to take care of the whole thing (proprety managment as we call), they like to take care of their proprtey by themselfs and not to pay any agent to take care of the mainenance and collecting the rent, thats why most of the agents job here is finding the tenants and finish the deal with the owner, so we are not a SCUM.
VW, don't go to the bank and cancel the posted checques cause the owner will report you to the police, you better go to the agent and ask him to meet the owner and finish the matter with him even do the right maintenance or cancel the contract and I hope he is a fair man and give you your rights.
VW, i don't want you to waste your time.
To my knowledge, there are no lawyers on this site. Refer to my post "Legal rights for Expats" dated 2006-03-05. I was trying to find out what other people had done in similar situations. But fellow posters didn't even understand my message; they referred me to a lawyer in an Embassy or something, to other sites, etc as if i had a real problem to solve, which i didn't. Bottom line is: no one on this site seems to be aware of the legal environment in Qatar for solving issues.
For you, the immediate action is to postpone the arrival date of your wife by a couple of months, even if you're at the 11th hour. If you have no phone, no ADSL, no cable, no 2nd car, no pool... sex won't be enough to keep your wife happy, cuz at some point you have to go to work i suppose (even if your profile posts no job description).
VW, i hope you will get your homework done soon, you sound like a nice guy, and in another culture, they would have said "he's happy of his youth"!
I hope you can get impartial advice here or elswhere. Good luck.
As I have said before, stay away from Real Estate Agents, they are scum.
Sorry I was so busy the last few days and didn't check the new posts.
As for your question (Is that normal for all housing leases in Qatar? You sign with the agent, and issue the cheques to the owner?)
No this is not normal, but some owners don't have the tenant form so they ask any agent to do it for them but it will be signed by the owner and the tenant and ofcourse the cheques will be issued to the owner.
Moudir, I didn't understand what did you mean by "may be he's having a siesta, but watch his sidekick, specially if his not so swift.", is it a sort of a language between you guys that we don't know about?
That's a good idea - I'll try and get the owner's info after we find a better flat to move into (with another agent).
Can I use the fact that the second bathroom is still unusable, the primary bathroom smells like mold and is likely unhealthy to breathe, and the telephone and cable is still not working as a breach of contract? All of these are listed in the Agreement, as well as "full maintenance".
Anything in a brand new 2 bedroom SF/FF for 7000-8500 available with you right now Ayman? ;o)
Oh, and Moonbeam sent me the rental law scans she mentioned a while back, sorry I haven't posted them until now. I need to read them over still, been swamped with work and my wife's arrival last week.
Cheers Moonbeam and for everyone else, here's the documents...
The laundry seems to be working now, 3rd repair's the charm I guess.
Another fellow is supposed to bring me a vacuum cleaner today (missing from the flat at move-in), which at least gives me the opportunity to clean the flat myself before the family arrives.
Cable TV and telephone is still an issue because it's the agency's property manager looking after it, not the "soldiers" of the company who have actually come to my flat and tried to accommodate my needs.
Thanks again for your comments and questions! For those of you who have bothered to read my long saga, I'll keep you posted ;o)
Is that normal for all housing leases in Qatar? You sign with the agent, and issue the cheques to the owner?
You also have to read the contract, but if you're responsible for your end of the deal, then whoever signed with you, must be responsible for their end of the deal, if the services were not 'workable' in the first place.
I would have thought you would deal with an agent to be presented to the owner, the agent would prepare the documents, have you sign, then take them to the owner, for him to sign, get his finder's fee, and then good bye.
If you're evicted, can't you simply go to the bank and cancel the posdated cheques?
Just to complete the information here on this issue:
1. The rental lease: is it signed with the landlord ? the agent ? or both ?
2. Agent's commission: is it paid by the landlord to the agent ?
3. Commission amount: does it represent a % of the rent, for each month leased ?
Yes, in this case I signed with the agency but only the agency signed on the lease contract. No owners' signature anywhere on it.
Cheques were made to the owner.
Not surprised to hear this is unorthodox given the saga with this agency so far.
... still no telephone or cable tv, which is supposed to be included in my rent.
Thanks Moudir. To clarify in my case:
1. The rental lease is signed between the agency and me, but my cheques were made payable to the owner.
Ayman, can you tell me what happens to a tenant's money when they are evicted?
This sounds like one that Safwany could answer.
Alternatively, could your employer "lean" on the agency or the landlord
could you please answer my previous post please ( 3 points ).
VW, Ayman doesn't answer my questions, because probably he doesn't have the answers. Didn't you say he had a friend ?
In the meantime, keep up the good work with the housekeeping!
His collegue shows properties to me periodically but I think Ayman would know the answers to your questions before this other fellow would.
Moonbeam may be sending me some landlord/tenant law scans soon. If she does I will post them, hopefully some of our collective questions will then be answered.