Legal Blog

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  • 23-01-2021
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The ultimate guide for tenants in the UAE: 27 Important things you need to know before signing on the dotted line.

Our mission at ZedteQ Legal is to educate and inform the public about the law; so, when you enter in to contracts with anyone, whether it is for your employment or with your landlord, you are well versed and know that you are getting what you are legally entitled to. 

Moving to a new country is inarguably an exhilarating experience. However, when that move is to the UAE, the excitement; thrill and nerves are a little bit more intensified (in our opinion)! 

Despite all the eagerness and anticipation of moving to a new country; it also brings with it many worries and pressures, as you will not necessarily be aware of the important laws you are legally bound by. Thus, putting yourself in a dangerous position.

At ZedteQ Legal, we realise there are so many other things going on; we want to provide you with a comprehensive guide about tenancy contracts, so you don’t get caught out. 

Know the law so you know your rights!

Drafting the contract

1. Tenancy contracts in the UAE last one year and are thus renewed annually.

2. Rent is fixed for the entire duration of the year and the landlord cannot increase it mid contract.

3. In order to draft your contract, you will require the following documents:

a. Passport copy, 

b. residence visa copy or sponsor letter 

4. The contract is draft by the landlord’s lawyer/agent.

5. The contract will be in Arabic; however, the landlord is legally obligated to provide you with an English copy.

6. Both parties must sign the contract; no witnesses are necessary. No other person can sign the contract in either parties place.


7. Rent in the UAE is administrated by the ‘Real Estate Regulatory Authority’  (RERA).

8. Under the provisions of Law No. 26 of 2007; it is deemed mandatory to register tenancy contracts. 

9. You can register the leasing contract with RERA, in the Ejari system. This is to ensure that the same property isnt being leased twice by the landlord. 

10. It can be done entirely online and you don’t need to go to their offices.

11. Under the Ejari system, you will have to pay the registration fee and upon successful payment you will receive an Ejari registration certificate. Keep this safe!

12. A good tip is to ask for the agent’s RERA card so that they know you are familiar with UAE laws.

Payment of rent

13. You can negotiate with your landlord whether you can pay in three or four yearly instalments. The usual practise is to make quarterly payments; however, this is between you and your landlord and fewer instalments (often) attract a better rent.

14. At the time of signing your contract; you will be required to pay the agreed number of payments in the form of post-dated cheques. Be sure to get a receipt for each cheque issued.


Watch out for extra costs

15. When you sign a new contract; you will have to pay a security deposit.

16. If you use an agency make sure you know what their charges are before instructing them.

17. Every time you renew your contract there is a fee payable to Ejari.

18. In Dubai, for example, if you rent a serviced apartment, you will also be required to pay a housing fee for your water; electricity bill and internet; equivalent to 5% of your monthly rent.

19. If not, you will be legally required to arrange water, electricity and internet yourself. When you leave the apartment, you must apply for the closure of each connection.

20. Remember, under UAE law, the landlord is responsible for the maintenance of the property and for repairing any damages that affect the use of the property. The catch here is except if the contract states the tenant is responsible. (Article 16 of Law No. 26 of 2007 Regulating the Relationship between Landlords and Tenants in the Emirate of Dubai); so make sure you check whose responsible before you sign!

21. If you are renting a furnished property; make sure your landlord provides you with an up-to-date inventory which you must check. Should there be any disputes after the contract is terminated, you may be liable for repair or replacement of any items.

22. Make sure your cheques do not bounce as this will amount to fraud and is punishable as a criminal offence. It could result in a fine or even imprisonment; so make sure you always have funds for your rent when it is due to be collected. ( Rules around bounce cheques have been amended and will come in to force in 2022; read our blog to find out more).

Notice to terminate contract by either party before the year is up.

23. If you as the tenant want to terminate the contract prior to the yearly contract being fulfilled; you must give a minimum of two months’ notice and pay a penalty, which is usually set at two months’ rent; however, it could be much more. This will usually be defined within your contract. Make sure you know what the figure is before you sign it.

24. If the landlord seeks to terminate the contract; they must give three months’ notice. There is no penalty for either party in these circumstances. 

25. A tenant is not legally allowed to sub-let the property unless express permission has been provided by the landlord.

What if there is a dispute between the two parties?

26. Disputes are settled by ‘rental resolution committees’ and each Emirate has their own committee. If you are based in Dubai you will need to contact the Rental Dispute Settlement Centre, at Dubai Land Department’s (head office Deira). 

27. You will need to provide your contract; ID; Passport; Visa and all associated receipts in order to issue an application for dispute resolution.

Ask a lawyer to check the contract before you sign!