Muscat: Residents and citizens in Oman who currently rent property can have their advance cheques returned to them if they dissolve the rental agreement.
But, tenants can only do so as long as they serve the notice period written into their tenant agreement, top lawyers in Oman have said.
In a series of articles about Oman’s rules and regulations, entitled ‘Know Oman’, experts guide readers on their rights and responsibilities while working and living in Oman.
Speaking exclusively to the Times of Oman, representatives of Al Faqih and Co., one of the leading law firms in Oman, explained how tenants can ask for their cheques they paid in advance under the provision of the agreement.
“If a tenant want his cheque back, the ones that are usually deposited in advance, all they have to do is follow the provision of their tenancy agreement to check the length of the notice period.
“If the notice period served is within the established period of the agreement, tenants can claim their cheques for the months they didn’t use the property,” said Ali Bin Omar Al Faqih, Founder & Managing Partner, Al Faqih and Co.
“However, if the agreement says that the tenant can’t terminate the contract before completing the agreed period (it could be according to what has been decided by the two parties) and it is a fixed term tenancy agreement, then tenants have to comply with it,” Al Faqih added.
Another legal consultant at the law firm said that returning deposit cheques is solely dependent upon the provision of the agreement.
“If it is a fixed term lease agreement, and there is no way that tenants can’t terminate the contract early before the agreed period, then it would be very difficult for them to get out of the whole arrangement,” Yasin Chowdhury, a legal consultant said.
“Having said that, we also need to look into what the notice period says. For instance, the tenant agreement is for one year and the notice period is for a month or two and both parties have agreed to leave early after serving it, then it wouldn’t be a problem.
“In that case and under this particular provision of the tenancy agreement, tenants can ask the landlord for their cheques back, which they deposited while establishing the agreement,” Chowdhury said.
He noted that if the tenants have deposited guarantee cheques, they don’t need to be worried about it since, in some instances, the Courts in Oman held that the return of the cheques which were issued as a method for guaranteeing payment, and not as the actual basis for making the payment, then the failure of the cheque cannot form the basis of a criminal case.
Talking about the role of a tenant, in terms of leasing a property, Chowdhury said that he always advises tenants to register themselves to ensure they have no problems.
“When tenants take a property on lease, it is the obligation of the landlord to get it registered with the Municipality. However, if the landlord fails to do so, it comes down to tenants to get it done, because if there are actions needed to be taken against the landlord, the tenant will be in a better position. Therefore, we always advise tenants to register themselves if the landlord didn’t do it to be on the safe side,” he added.
* Al Faqih and Co.([email protected]) is a premier commercial law firm based in Muscat, consisting of barristers, consultants and advocates with vast experience in corporate and commercial practice, including labour and employment law in the Sultanate of Oman.
The objectives of the firm are, inter alia, to provide a full spectrum of corporate and commercial legal services to a variety of clientele in an efficient, effective and timely manner.
It has specialization in banking and finance, international trade, litigation and arbitration, shipping and aviation, private equity and foreign investment laws.