The objective of this article is to provide both landlords and tenants in Dubai with a broader understanding of the legal framework and practical considerations governing the tenancy matters. This article, however, is not intended to provide legal advice or opinion, and it is for informational purposes only. If you would like to discuss how this information relates to your particular matter, we encourage you to contact a lawyer through Legalintro.
1) As a tenant, can I terminate the tenancy agreement before its expiry?
A tenancy contract is binding upon both the parties and neither party may terminate it without the consent of the other unless otherwise provided by the contract. Since Law No. 26 of 2007 Regulating Relationship Between Landlord and Tenants in the Emirate of Dubai (“Tenancy Law”) does not provide an article for early termination of a tenancy contract, termination clauses and the relevant penalties contained in the agreement should carefully be reviewed. In case the contract does not contain any termination clause, the best approach is to try to resolve the matter amicably offering your landlord compensation for early termination of the contract. Contact Legalintro to speak with a lawyer who can advise you on the compensation amount and even negotiate with your landlord to solve the issue amicably on behalf of you.
2) When can my landlord increase the rent?
In the event a landlord wishes to increase the rent, he has to give at least 90 days’ notice of such increase to the other party through a Notary Public before the expiry of the lease (unless otherwise agreed by the parties). In other words, such increase should be notified prior to your contract renewal and through a Notary Public, and can only be applicable to the renewed contract.
3) Is RERA Index mandatory for landlords?
Yes, the rental calculator works in accordance with the RERA rental index which is updated yearly and the rental recommendations in the index are mandatory for all landlords in Dubai. The applicable rules and regulations are contained in Decree No 43 of 2013 Determining Rent Increases for Real Property in the Emirate of Dubai and apply to all landlords who have properties in Dubai including the free zone areas. This law establishes the mechanism to determine as to whether a landlord is entitled to increase the annual rent, and whether such increase falls within the “average rental for similar units”.
4) Can my landlord retain security deposit?
Pursuant to the Tenancy Law, a landlord may obtain security deposit amount from a tenant to guarantee maintenance of premises at the end of tenancy contract, provided that the landlord shall undertake to refund this deposit, or any remaining amount, upon expiry of contract. As is evident from the Tenancy Law, a landlord can only retain security deposit for maintenance purposes. In the event a tenant returns the property to a landlord in the same condition as handed over to him at the time of moving in, except for normal wear and tear or for reasons beyond tenant’s control, the landlord cannot withhold security deposit and is obliged to refund it upon expiry of tenancy contract without any deduction. In case a landlord refuses to pay back the security deposit in full or at all, there are certain legal procedures you may pursue. Call Legalintro to talk to a lawyer who can provide you with legal advice on what actions you should take to recover your security deposit.
5) What if there is a dispute with my landlord?
In the event of a dispute, the Rental Disputes Settlement Centre (“RDSC”) is the competent authority to hear claims or applications related to the tenancy and adjudicate the dispute arising between landlords and tenants in Dubai. If you wish to file a case, you should submit a statement of claim along with certain supporting documents. All documents to be submitted to RDSC should be in Arabic or translated into Arabic by a sworn translator. You can also approach the Reconciliation Department prior to litigation procedure in order to reach an amicable settlement. In case a settlement is not achieved, the Reconciliation Department will refer the matter to First Instance Division of RDSC. Use Legalintro to contact specialized lawyers who can assist you throughout the reconciliation and litigation process.
6) When can a landlord demand eviction?
A landlord may seek eviction of a tenant from the property prior to or upon the expiry of the term of the tenancy agreement. However, a landlord must at least have one of the legitimate reasons stated in the Tenancy Law such as breach of the tenancy contract by the tenant, sale of property or recovery of property for personal use of the landlord. The landlord should also serve a notice upon the tenant through a Notary Public or registered post in order to request for eviction. The period of such notice depends on the reason of the eviction and the Tenancy Law set outs strict requirements for the service of such notice. Failure to meet such requirements will give the tenant the right to challenge the validity of the notice and it may result in the notice being rejected by RDSC.
7) What happens if a landlord changes his mind and does not sell or self-occupy the property?
If a landlord evicts a tenant from a property on the grounds that he will sell the property, or his first-degree relatives will personally use the property, such landlord cannot rent the property to a third party for two years from the date of recovery of the property in case of residential lease, and three years in case of non-residential lease. In case of failure to observe such rule, the tenant can approach RDSC and file a case against the landlord seeking a fair compensation in lieu of losses incurred by the tenant.