Many of the real estate dealers have been jailed after the cases reached the Abu Dhabi courts.
At least 30 people have been cheated in real estate scams in the Capital over the past seven months. According to different lawsuits filed at the Abu Dhabi Criminal Court of First Instance, tenants and landlords were conned by real estate dealers or brokers.
In some cases, the dealers had convinced landlords into leasing them houses on annual contracts after handing them post-dated cheques which could be cashed after they rented out the apartments to tenants.
But after renting out the houses and collecting money from the tenants, the real estate dealers or brokers disappeared without paying the landlords or depositing the cash in their bank accounts. The landlords later realised that they had been conned by the dealers after the cheques bounced.
The landlords said the dealers, who had already rented out the houses to various tenants, had switched off their mobile phones.
In other cases, according to court documents, the real estate dealers pretended to be UAE nationals and got keys of empty villas or apartments, which they illegally rented out to more than one tenant. The dealers, who didn’t even own offices, then fled and switched off their mobile phones after taking money from prospective tenants.
The police managed to arrest most of the fraudsters after the landlords and tenants filed complaints with the authorities. Many of the real estate dealers have been jailed after the cases reached the Abu Dhabi courts.
In one of the cases, four Arab men who were accused of conning different families of more than Dh200,000, were each jailed for six months. They had illegally tried to rent out a villa in the Khalidiyah area.
The victims said they had seen advertisements about the availability of a villa for rent. They contacted the advertisers, who pretended to be UAE nationals and owners of the villa. The men took money from the tenants and also gave them tenancy contracts.
The victims said when they went to occupy the villa, they found that it was already occupied by another family. That is when they realised that they had been cheated.
Ali Al Khajah, an Abu Dhabi lawyer, said bogus real estate dealers, who often have no offices, take advantage of people’s ignorance about the right procedures for renting a house.
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