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UAE Judiciary signs agreement with bank to freeze accounts over rent defaults in only 2 days
July 18, 2016
Most people in the UAE, live month to month and have little savings. Their bank accounts can easily be frozen if for example, their employer is late paying, if they are made redundant or simply encounter unexpected real world troubles, such as hospital bills, injury or illness.
There is no differentiation between “won´t pay rent” and “can´t pay rent”. If they can not afford to pay the rent or their cheques bounce, why not freeze what little they have left in their accounts for food.
Of course, it is unacceptable to voluntarily default on rent payments on a contract entered by both parties in good faith, but there needs to be some sort of differentiation between those who choose not to pay, and those who have suffered unexpectedly.
Freezing a bank account, perhaps one´s only source of funds, could be seen as a human rights violation, if that person was no longer able to pay for food and supplies. Given that this is a possibility, it is wise indeed to always have cash set aside. Bank accounts can be frozen at any time, sometimes without warning.
The Rental Disputes Centre (RDC), the judicial arm of the Dubai Land Department (DLD), and the UAE Central Bank have signed an agreement that allows for freezing of the bank account of a tenant if his/her rent cheques bounce, Emirates 24|7 can reveal.
“After the judgment is passed by the RDC, it will be informed to the Central Bank, which will pass the information to the banks. It could also lead to blocking of tenant’s bank account,” a DLD spokesperson said.
“This process will now take two days instead of 60,” the spokesperson added.
In a statement, the DLD said the aim of the MoU, signed by RDC Director Abdulqader Musa Mohammed and UAE Central Bank’s Assistant Governor for Banking Supervision, Saeed Abdullah Al Hamiz, was to create an electronic framework of cooperation to facilitate the implementation of decisions and judgments.
The proposals will speed up procedures and reduce transaction time from six months to two working days following the transition from paper-based to electronic systems. Both parties agreed to establish a platform utilising the UAE Central Bank’s existing Customer Information Request (CIR) system.
As per the agreement, the Central Bank will direct queries submitted by the RDC to enable the efficient execution of judicial committee decisions and judgments. These verdicts will be directly implemented by the banks, which will also provide immediate responses to enquiries.
RDC’s Mohammed said: “This move is consistent with our ongoing efforts to improve upon existing frameworks of cooperation with official bodies, with the aim of improving government procedures and promoting cooperation between all institutions.
“It is expected that this MoU will pave the way towards promoting transparency for all property transactions and procedures, benefiting all parties and guaranteeing the protection of their rights.”
The number of RDC judgments to be implemented for 2016 stands at 2,630, all of which will all now be rapidly implemented by the effective system set in motion as an outcome of this MoU, he added.
UAE Central Bank’s Al Hamiz emphasised the vital role that the RDC plays in supporting the stability of the national markets and in upholding transparency, providing greater peace of mind and ensuring a higher level of security for all parties involved in property contracts.
“The CIR system at the Central Bank has safeguarded stability across many of Dubai’s industry sectors and we are certain that this will also be the case for our cooperation with the RDC and DLD. Our plan will help the emirate’s real estate sector by maintaining the rights of all parties, ensuring justice through the fair and efficient application of the provisions of UAE law,” he said.