Tenancy and Landlord Law FAQs

Questions

Answer:

Verbal contracts are legally binding, however, due to there uncertainty are not allowed in the UAE.

Lack of an agreement can lead to serious problems if terms such as, the rent, payment dates, deposits, termination, and renewal of the agreement, etc are not set out accurately. Without a written lease agreement, there will be ambiguity, and  without supporting evidence, should a dispute occur between you and your landlord, you will have difficulties in proving your case.

Article No. 4 on Tenancy Contract says:

"The tenancy relationship between a landlord and tenant shall be governed by a written tenancy contract signed by them describing the property in detail, the purpose of the tenancy, name of the landlord, No. and type of land, name of the area, period and rent value and method of payment.

All properties subject to this law, or its amendments, are to be registered with the Agency. However, judicial bodies and governmental departments and authorities should not consider any claim, case or execution based on a tenancy contract unless the same is registered with the Agency in accordance with rules and conditions set for this purpose."

Answer:

Your landlord can increase the rent at the time of renewal of the lease agreement.

Due to economic change, rent can also be increased as decided by the governing authorities. You would normally receive 90 days notification before the rise in rent.

Under Law, No 26 of 2007 Regulating Relationship Between Landlords and Tenants, it states;

"Landlord and tenant must specify rent value in the tenancy contract, and should not increase such rent value or amend any of tenancy contract conditions until the elapse of two years from the date of inception of the original tenancy relationship.”

Rent value includes the enjoyment of property utilities, like summing pools, playgrounds, sports halls, health club, car parking….etc. unless agreed otherwise.

Answer:

The lease agreement is legally binding. A landlord cannot evict you unless you breach terms in the lease agreement, for example, failing to pay rent or damaging the property.

Under the Law, No 26 of 2007 Regulating Relationship Between Landlords and Tenants in the Emirate of Dubai declares:

"If the tenancy contract is due and valid, it cannot be unilaterally terminated by the landlord or the tenant, unless both parties agree on such termination or in accordance with the provisions of this law.”

If the landlord seeks to evict you, they must first serve you an official written notification, the "Termination Notice" or "Notice to End a Tenancy." The notification must clearly why and when your landlord wants you to move out. The notice will allow you a certain number of days 30 to 90 days before vacating the property.

This notification is also served at the end of the lease agreement if either landlord or tenant don't want to renew the agreement. 

"If either party opts not to renew the tenancy contract or wishes to amend any of its conditions, then he must notify the same to the other party not less than 90 days before the expiry date unless both parties agreed otherwise."

Answer:

A tenant can take legal action against the landlord if the property is an uninhabitable place, unhygienic, or hazardous to live. You can send a legal notice to your landlord for the maintenance of the property. If the notification is not answered, then you can report to the Local Housing Authority for the defective condition of the property. 

Under the Law, No 26 of 2007 Regulating Relationship Between Landlords and Tenants in the Emirate of Dubai declares:

"Landlord shall be committed to hand over the property in good condition that enables the tenant to obtain the benefits subject of the tenancy contract.

Landlord shall, during the validity of the tenancy contract, be liable for undertaking maintenance of the property and shall rectify any defects or faults that affect tenant's intended benefit from the property, unless the two parties agree otherwise.

Landlord shall not make any change in the property, its utilities or ancillaries affecting the intended benefit, and the landlord shall be liable for such changes caused by him, or by any person authorized by him, and for any damages, faults or shortages caused to the property for reasons not relating to the tenant."

Answer:

The improvement or change made by the tenant cannot be removed by the tenant until both tenants and landlords agree.

As per law, whatever the change is done at the property of the landlord becomes the part of the property of the landlord.

Under the Law, No 26 of 2007 Regulating Relationship Between Landlords and Tenants in the Emirate of Dubai declares:

"The tenant shall not, upon vacating the property, remove any fixed improvements unless agreed otherwise by both parties."


Answer:

You can freely use the property on the terms you and your landlord agreed, or it doesn't affect the neighbors or nearby areas. You can run a business on the rented property if you and your landlord agree on the agreement. Otherwise, it counts as a severe offense leading to eviction. 

"If the tenant uses the property for purposes other than the purpose it was leased for or if he uses the property in a way that violates planning, building, and land using regulations.

The property is likely to need planning permission if:
Using it as a business might impact on traffic or cause a nuisance with people calling at the property
The use is expected to create excess dust or smells.

Answer:

The lease agreement continues after the death of either the landlord or tenant by their heirs until the heirs want to end the lease agreement.

Under the Law, No 26 of 2007 Regulating Relationship Between Landlords and Tenants in the Emirate of Dubai declares:

"If landlord or tenant dies, the tenancy relationship shall devolve to their heirs, unless tenant's heirs decide to terminate that relationship, provided that termination shall become effective after thirty (30) days from notifying the landlord of such decision or on expiry of tenancy contract, whichever occurs first."

"The transfer of title to a new landlord shall not affect tenant's right to continue the occupation of the property in accordance with the tenancy contract signed with the previous owner, provided that the tenancy contract has a fixed date."

Answer:

The landlord cannot cut off any essential services and the services stated in the lease agreement. He/she can face jail for cutting off the vital services which make the property habitable.

Under the Law, No 26 of 2007 Regulating Relationship Between Landlords and Tenants in the Emirate of Dubai declares:

"The landlord is prohibited from disconnecting services to the property or preventing the tenant from benefiting from the property. However, in the event of the occurrence of such incidents, the tenant shall refer to the police station in the same area to prove the case or to stop such prevention, and also to file a case before the Committee, enclosing supporting reports, for compensation of any damages."

My landlord doesn’t want to return my deposit. He told me that the property should remain in the same condition as I received it. However, during my tenancy there was naturally some general 'wear and tear' but nothing serious.

Answer:

According to Article 16 of the Law No. 26 of 2007, real estate companies and landlords are the ones responsible of maintain and taking care of the rented property. It is also good that you have a written contract before you move into the property. You can inform the landlord that the apartment is in good condition, and that the damages that occurred are actually out of your control.

If things are not yet solved, you can escalate your concern to the Rent Dispute Committee and file a case. Make sure to bring evidence like receipts and the contract.

The tenant who lived in my rented apartment for five years has decided to move out. When I personally checked the condition of the apartment, it was a disaster. The tiles on one of the rooms were destroyed because he used to move his things around and part of the painted walls also have some graffiti’s.

I told him that I will not return his deposit if he doesn’t fix this mess. He said he will file a complaint against me.

Please tell me that I have the right to do such action of keeping his deposit.

Answer:

You cannot just keep his deposit to yourself. You must have a valid reason, and by the looks of it, you may have a point.

Many landlords believe that the UAE laws only protect tenants when it comes to leasing transactions. But little do they know they also have a right. In the Article 20 of the Dubai Rental Law, you as a landlord have the power to deduct a specific amount from the tenant’s deposit if he has personally damaged the apartment or property.

After doing that, you must return the remainder of his deposit. This action will eliminate future dispute from the tenant.

I’ve been leasing my Dubai apartment for two years now, and my tenancy contract will end soon. I’m planning to move out because the apartment’s location is far from where I’m working. However, I haven’t found a new apartment yet. I don’t want to renew my contract because I’m afraid that if a new apartment becomes available I will not be able to move in due to the renewed contract.

Answer:

Article 21 of the Dubai Rental Law clearly states that as a tenant, you need to vacate or leave the apartment upon the expiry of the term of your tenancy contract.

You must return the possession of the property to your landlord immediately. Not being able to follow the contract will lead to future complications. Worst case scenario, your landlord will file a complaint against you.

Even though you will pay the lease during your stay, it’s still best for you to renew the contract. If you don’t comply, then your landlord might bring the matter up to the tribunal. There, they will try to resolve your issues and come up with a solution.

Answer:

Your landlord doesn’t have the authority to renew your leasing contract automatically. Assuming that the leasing agreement that you signed does not cover the renewal notification, then you must follow the Article 14 of the Dubai Tenancy Law.

You must submit a written notice to your landlord, which serves a minimum of 90 days before your contract’s expiry date. This letter must explain your desire to renew your tenancy contract.

Answer:

Yes, you can. However, the increase of the rent should comply with the Decree No. 43 of 2013. The said law determines how high the rental payment will be.

You can use the rental increase calculator from the RERA at the DLD website in order to know the limitation of the increase.

I’m new here in the United Arab Emirates and my landlord doesn’t present me with a tenancy contract.

Answer:

According to the Article 4 of Landlords and Tenants in the Emirates of Dubai No. 26 of 2007, tenants and landlord must agree to have a written leasing contract.

In the contract, detailed description of the property must be indicated. Aside from that, things like payment method and value of the rent should also be stated.

It is important to sign a tenancy contract with your landlord.

Our landlord died in a car accident. His eldest son took over as the new landlord. He then told us that there will be some changes in our contracts. Can he do that?

Answer:

No. He can’t command the tenants to sign a new contract just because there are changes to it.

Article 28 No. 26 of 2007 under the “General Rules” says that the new landlord doesn’t have the right to affect or make sudden changes with the tenant’s leasing contract, which has been approved by the previous owner.

My tenant, who’s living in my apartment for three years, told me that he is letting his friend sublease the apartment with him.

I don’t want a sub-tenant, and we don’t have it in our agreement.

Answer:

As the landlord, you have every right to create rules that you think is best for your leased property. It includes not allowing a sub-tenant.

It is mentioned in the Article 24 No. 26 of 2007 under the “Obligations of Tenant” that, “Unless otherwise agreed in the tenancy contract, the tenant shall not assign the benefit or sublease the property without obtaining landlord’s approval.”

Last year, the apartment building that I’m leasing went into a major reconstruction due to huge cracks on the walls. Now that it is fully operational again, I decided to move back and continue my contract. However, the landlord is requiring me to get a new contract.

Answer:

Whenever a leased property has been demolished, reconstructed, or renovated because of different reasons, it is possible for the tenants to return or go back without restrictions.

This is backed by Articles 13 and 29 of the Law Regulating Relationship between Landlords and Tenants in the Emirate of Dubai No. 26 of 2007.

Answer:

Because the UAE is covered by the Sharia Law, such actions are not tolerated.

It is strictly prohibited in the UAE to live with the opposite sex. According to the law, it is illegal, causing everyone who gets caught to be imprisoned or worst, be deported back to their home country.

Despite the law, couples still manage to escape it; however, if they were to be caught, they will be penalized for it. Under the Article 356 of the UAE Penal Code, those who will get caught will be subject to a minimum of one year jail sentence. Right after that, they will be deported.

In addition, it is against the Sharia Law to be seen with an opposite sex inside a car or a private room. Holding hands and kissing in public is also not permitted; this applies even to married couples in the UAE.

My tenant hasn’t paid her rent for almost two months now. She said she got terminated and can’t find a job. I want her out before the month ends because another tenant wants to rent the apartment. She is refusing to leave. I already bargained with her and allowed her to stay for one month, but up until now, she’s doesn’t want to pay?

Answer:

If she still refuses to move out after months of consideration and bargaining, you can file a case against her at the Dubai Rent Dispute Settlement Centre.

In the Article 25(1) of the Dubai Tenancy Law, you have the power as the property landlord to terminate the said tenant if she failed to pay the rent. As it was also indicated on the written agreement or contract that you both signed.

Considering that she also breached her obligation to pay, another reason for you to file a case. All of this if you still can’t talk her out into paying the rent.

As an interior designer here in Dubai, I’m inspired by a lot of things. And I want to apply my knowledge in my apartment, which I’m renting for more than 10 years. I decided to add walls, creating a new room in my apartment. When my landlord found out, he said that he will terminate my contract- is he allowed to?

Answer:

Your lease agreement will probably have a clause stating that the property must remain as it is, throughout your tenancy.

Further, It seems you may have breached a rule under Article 21 of the Dubai Rental Law and therefore, your landlord has the right to deduct from your deposit any expenses that are required in bringing back the apartment to its original form.

The landlord surely has the right to terminate your contract because of such action.

Article 19, under the Obligations of the Tenant also states that “Tenant must pay rent value on due dates and preserve the property as his own property. He also shall not make any changes, renovations or maintenance works without landlord’s permission, after obtaining necessary approvals from competent authorities. This shall not violate tenant’s obligation to execute agreed upon maintenance or that which is ordinarily done by tenants.”

Answer:

According to Article 14 of Dubai Tenancy Law, you must inform your landlord through a written notification about your decision to renew your tenancy agreement. t This should be served at least 90 days prior to the end of the contract. 

You are also required to renew your tenancy contract in the Ejari system. Do that online and make sure to submit all necessary documents.

You should also be aware that your landlord might  seek to issue a rent increase, as per Article No. 43 of 2013. Your landlord will use a rental increase calculator of the RERA on the DLD website.

You should also know that the landlord cannot force you to not renew the contract. That rule is under the Article 25(2) of the Dubai Tenancy Law.

In the written tenancy contract, my landlord has agreed that I can use the property services like the pool, parking lot, and the sports hall. But upon settling in, he prohibited not just me, but the other tenants as well to use the said services.

Answer:

As it is mentioned in the contract, you have every right to utilize the said services. Your landlord cannot put something in the leasing agreement if he will not follow it.

Article 34 of the Dubai Law No. 26 of 2007 under the “Final Judgments,” landlords should not prohibit tenants from using services of the property or prevent them from benefiting from the property.

If this ever happens again, you can file a case to the nearest police station. You can also file a case before the Committee.

We have an agreement that the landlord is responsible for maintaining and making sure that the apartment is functional and in good condition.

Now, the pipes are broken and water is dripping everywhere. He said I should fix it myself because I’m the one who’s using the apartment.

Answer:

From the start of your contract, the landlord must provide a presentable and good living condition to a tenant. He is responsible in making sure that the leased apartment is good.

And since he agreed that he will maintain the apartment’s condition, then he should act on it.

In the Article 16 of the Law No. 26 of 2007, it is imperative that the landlord repair any damage or defect in the apartment, which could potentially affect the tenant’s use of it.


Answer:

You need to register with Ejari and add your lease to the portal. Any lease less than six months is considered short term and doesn't need to be recorded.

Answer:

For you to not experience problems such as renewing utility connections, visa sponsorships, and trade licenses in the future, Article 4(a) of the Dubai Tenancy Law encourages tenants like you to register your tenancy agreement.

You can register the leasing contract with the Real Estate Regulatory Agency or more commonly known as RERA, in the Ejari system.

In using the Ejari system, you will have to pay a registration fee of AED215. Once done, you will then get an Ejari registration certificate.

Answer:

This is governed under  Law, No 26 of 2007 Regulating Relationship between Landlords and Tenants which also stipulates that 90 days notice must be given.

  1. Landlord may demand eviction of tenant prior to expiry of tenancy period in the following cases:

    a. If tenant fails to pay rent value, or part thereof, within thirty (30) days of landlord’s notification for payment.

    b. If tenant subleases the property, or part thereof, without landlord’s written approval and in such case eviction shall be applicable to subtenant, and his right to refer to tenant for compensation shall be reserved.

     c. If tenant uses, or allows others to use, the property for illegal or immoral activities.

     d. If tenant causes changes that endanger safety of the property in a way that it cannot be restored to its original condition or if he causes damage to the property intentionally or due to his gross negligence to take proper precautions or if he allows others to cause such damage.

    e. If tenant uses the property for purposes other than the purpose it was leased for or if he uses the property in a way that violates planning, building and land using regulations.

    f. If the property is in danger of collapse, provided that landlord must prove such condition by a technical report attested by Dubai Municipality.

    g. If tenant fails to observe legal obligations or tenancy contract conditions within (30) days from date of notification by the landlord to abide by such obligations or conditions.

  2. Landlord may demand eviction of tenant upon expiry of 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 which cannot be executed while tenant is occupying the property, provided that a technical report attested by Dubai Municipality is to be submitted to this effect.

    c. If landlord wishes to demolish the property for reconstruction or to add new constructions that prevent tenant from benefiting from the leased property, provided that necessary licences are obtained.

    d. If landlord wishes to recover the property for use by him personally or by his next of kin of first degree.