Reader in UAE asks: ‘Can I legally claim my right to an undated security cheque?’
Issuing a security cheque without a date
Question: Two years ago, I gave a person a loan. In return, I asked him to sign a paper that he had agreed to take this loan. However, he did not mention the date when he would return the money. Instead, he gave me a cheque for the loan amount as a guarantee. There was no due date mentioned on the cheque, either. A month ago, I sent an email to the debtor, asking him to repay the loan amount. Otherwise, I said I would deposit the guarantee cheque. But the debtor replied, saying that the cheque was for security purposes only and was not meant to be used, because the debt agreement did not mention any maturity date for the debt. My question is, am I legally entitled to use the cheque to claim my right — even though the loan agreement did not mention any due date for the debt? Please advise.
Yes, you are entitled to use the cheque if it has been signed by the creditor — even if the agreement does not mention any due date for the debt to mature. This is because the cheque needs only to be signed by its issuer in order for it to be used by its beneficiary. The drawer’s signature on the cheque is mandatory. The cheque loses its value if it is not signed by the issuer, but it is not mandatory to have the other data on a cheque in the handwriting of the issuer for it to be deemed fit for filing of a criminal case.
The drawer’s signature on the cheque, without proof of a date on it or the beneficiary’s name on it, does not affect the validity of the cheque because giving the cheque to the beneficiary without providing the data indicates that its drawer had authorised the beneficiary to put those details on the cheque before submitting it to the drawee. And the burden of proving the existence, nature and extent of this authorisation will transfer from the beneficiary to those who claim otherwise.
It was decided by Dubai Supreme Court: ‘The law does not require that the cheque data be drawn by the drawer. Rather, it is sufficient for it to bear the signature of the one who issued it.’ (Cassation No 2009/408, Penal.)
It is also decided that ‘the drawer’s signature on a blank cheque, without listing its value or providing its date, does not affect the validity of the cheque issuance’. Issuing a cheque without providing a value or date indicates that its drawer has authorised the beneficiary to fill in those data before presenting the cheque to the drawee and the burden of proving this authorisation and its extent is on those who claim otherwise’. (Cassation No 7/2017, Penal.)
Moreover, the criminal court doesn’t check the cause or purpose behind the cheque issuance — whether it was by way of a guarantee or not. It has been decided by Dubai Supreme Court that the reasons behind the issuance of the cheque have no effect in establishing the criminal burden. (Cassation No 404/2015/Penalties.)
However, this matter is checked by the civil court and if it is raised in court then you have to prove that it was not a guarantee cheque, with all the means of proof such as: The loan agreement signed by the counterparty, WhatsApp messages, email, oath … etc and the court has the full authority to examine the evidence and documents presented in the lawsuit and judge the truth behind the case.
Violation of tenancy contract
Four months ago, I purchased a property from a person. The purpose was for housing and not for investment. The property that I bought was rented out by the first owner and the tenant promised me that he would vacate the property by last May — which was the expiry date of the lease contract. However, the tenant is currently refusing to vacate the apartment. My question is: What should be my legal stance towards the tenant and how can I force him to hand over the property to me?
Law No 26 of 2007, regulating Relationship between Landlords and Tenants in the emirate of Dubai, in Article 28, states that ‘the transfer of title to a new landlord shall not affect tenant’s right to continue occupation of the property in accordance with the tenancy contract signed with the previous owner, provided that the tenancy contract has a fixed date.
In your situation, the contract expired in May, but you did not file a case to evict the tenant. This seemingly means that the contract has been extended without your objection, under the same condition as mentioned in Article (6) of the same law, which states: ‘If the tenant continues to occupy the property after expiry of the contract period, without any objection from the landlord, then the contract shall be renewed for similar period or for one year, whichever is less, with the same terms and conditions’.
So, you have to notify the tenant and file a case with the Rental Dispute Center, requesting to evacuate the tenant, in keeping with the conditions of Article 25 of the mentioned law, and in this respect, you should prove that you want to use the property for your own self and that you do not have any other residence. The Rental Dispute Center will decide on this matter, taking into consideration the documents, proofs and circumstances.
Article 25 further states that:
‘1. Landlord may demand eviction of the tenant prior to expiry of the tenancy period in the following cases: A) If the tenant fails to pay the rent, or part thereof, within 30 days of the landlord’s notification for payment. B) If the tenant subleases the property, or part thereof, without the landlord’s written approval and in such a case, eviction shall be applicable to the subtenant and his or her right to refer to the tenant for compensation shall be reserved. C) If tenant uses, or allows others to use, the property for illegal or immoral activities. D) If the tenant makes changes to the property that endanger the safety of the property in such a way that the safety parameter cannot be restored to its original condition or if he or she damages the property intentionally or if the property is damaged due to his or her gross negligence or if he or she allows others to cause such damage. E) If the tenant uses the property for purposes other than the one for which it was leased or if he or she uses the property in a way that violates the building plan and the regulations for utilisation of the land. F) If the property is in danger of collapsing, provided the landlord must prove such a condition by a technical report attested by Dubai Municipality. G) If the tenant fails to observe legal obligations or tenancy contract conditions within 30 days from the date of notification by the landlord to abide by such obligations or conditions.’
‘2. Landlord may demand eviction of the tenant upon expiry of the tenancy contract in the following cases: A) If development requirements in the emirate requires demolition and reconstruction of the property in accordance with government authorities’ instructions. B) If the property requires renovation or comprehensive maintenance that cannot be executed while the tenant is occupying the property, provided that a technical report attested by Dubai Municipality is submitted to this effect. C) If the landlord wishes to demolish the property for reconstruction or to add new construction that prevents the tenant from benefiting from the leased property, provided that necessary licences are obtained. D) If the landlord wishes to take possession of the property for use by him personally or by any of his next-of-kin of first degree.
However, in all the above mentioned cases, the landlord must notify the tenant about the reasons behind the eviction at least 90 days prior to the expiry date of the tenancy contract.’