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civil law

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December 24, 2017

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Investor wins reimbursement for Dubai housing project that was never built

Ten years after a man paid Dh1.5 million for two villas that never materialised, he has had his money returned with interest following a Dubai Civil Court order.

Court records show that the investor bought two villas worth Dh1.9m in the fully-serviced Movenpick apartments project at Dubai Square in January 2007 and that he had paid Dh1.5m of the total price.

According to the contract he signed with the developer, the investor was supposed to receive the villas in mid 2009.

Legal consultant Hassan Elhais from Al Rowad Advocates, who represented the French investor, said: "My client contacted the developer several times and asked for the villas, but then discovered the project was still in its early stages of construction. As per his rights in the signed contract, he was able, by October 2010, to issue a written warning, which, if not met within 30 days by the developer, permits him by law to break the contract and claim back the money he had paid."

On January 2012, the investor obtained an official letter from Dubai Land Department saying that the two villas were not registered with the department, and in May the same year he filed a civil case requesting that the developer cancel the contract and return his money.

Dr Elhais said that the developer submitted documents to court claiming that the land on which the project was being constructed had been leased to a second developer, who then leased it to a third developing company.

The court ordered that all three parties be considered as defendants in the case and assigned an expert to investigate the construction site, and to study all of the official documents submitted by the claimant and the defendants.

The Court of First Instance ruled against the investor and dismissed the case in May 2014; however, he filed an appeal, after which the court ruled in his favour. It said in its verdict that the lower court had failed to properly implement the law based on the documents in hand.

In August 2015, the appeal court ordered the three developers to jointly repay the French man Dh1.5m in addition to Dh248,000, taking in to consideration 9 per cent annual interest from the date he had filed the case in May 2012. It also ordered them to pay all of the legal fees related to the case.

Dr Elhais said the defendants failed to repay the amount in one sum, but following several meetings, they reached an agreement in 2016 with the investor to pay the man in installments.

The three paid Dh178,883 monthly, and the man has now received the last payment.

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