UAE - Residents of multiple communities in Dubai have been paying rents cheque-free since 2019. A top official from Dubai Holding Asset Management, which manages 15 communities, said the company rolled out the payment option when it launched the ‘DubaiAM Life’ app.
Communities covered under the scheme include Remraam, Layan, Ghoroob, Ghoroob Square, Shorooq, Dubai Wharf, Manazel Al Khor and Al Khail Gate.
Ahmed Al Suwaidi, managing director of Residential Communities, Dubai Holding Asset Management, was talking to Khaleej Times after authorities in Dubai recently announced a system where rental cheque payments are automated and digitised using the UAE Central Bank’s Direct Debit System (UAEDDS). Tenants can opt for the scheme, eliminating the need to submit post-dated rental cheques, as per the agreement signed between Dubai Land Department (DLD) and Emirates NBD bank.
“More than 21 per cent of our residents pay (rents) completely cheque-free. Overall, payments via the app have increased significantly this year as people realise the benefits and convenience that comes with this digital option. In H1 2022, app-based transactions made up nearly 87 per cent of the FY 2021 payments,” said Al Suwaidi.
The real estate asset management company has eliminated over 10,000 cheques since the scheme was rolled out.
The official said residents have three payment options via the app: Post-dated cheques, credit or debit card or pay their first instalment by card and the rest using post-dated cheques. “Direct debit with multiple payments terms is replacing the traditional cheque model and this transition is embedded in the app, where residents can even sign their contracts and related documents using UAE Pass,” he explained.
Rents can be paid in monthly, bi-monthly and quarterly instalments.
The cheque-free rent payment is not mandatory, he clarified. “We recognise that using post-dated cheques is still a prominent practice in the region, which is why tenants who are not as familiar with the direct debit system can opt for cheque-based payment.”
A penalty is levied for both bounced rent cheques and unsuccessful direct debit transactions, Al Suwaidi added.
Benefits of digital rent payments
He said digital payment platforms like direct debit/recurring credit card “really ease the overall payment process for residents”.
“(They) eliminate the need to manually manage post-dated cheques, reducing associated stresses while keeping all necessary information and documents in one convenient location. It also allows more flexibility, for both tenants as well as property managers like us or individual landlords and enables greater transparency and security overall,” he added.
When asked if he foresees a future in Dubai where rent cheques are completely eliminated, Al Suwaidi said: “Digital transformation is a reality impacting all industries – the real estate sector included … The rate at which technology is improving and evolving to better meet the needs of individual users, I would not be surprised to see that somewhere down the line, rent cheques will be a system of the past.
“Eliminating them will also be a valuable step in the direction of a paperless economy, as set forth by our leadership, and will contribute to Dubai’s commitment to high quality living and resident happiness.”