Connector March 2024

CONNECTOR.AE 58 CONNECTOR.AE 59 Lifestyle Lifestyle Understanding Tenant Eviction Rights in Dubai In Dubai, the rental market is booming, and if you’re planning to rent an apartment soon, it’s important to know your rights as a tenant. Connector spoke to Ahmad AlKhalil, a highly experienced lawyer and legal consultant, to understand what to do if your landlord gives you an eviction notice. Ahmad Al-Khalil has over 20 years of experience in various legal areas, including mergers and acquisitions, commercial contracts, and employment law. He shared valuable insights on how tenants can manage rental situations and what to remember if they receive an eviction notice from their landlord. Understanding The Basics Before delving into eviction rights, let’s understand some rules for tenants and landlords in Dubai. The Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA) oversees tenant rights in Dubai. Here are the basic regulations for both parties: Basic Rules for Tenants: - Pay rent on time and seek landlord approval for property changes. - Return the property to its original condition, minus normal wear and tear. - Cover necessary taxes and fees unless agreed otherwise. - Leave improvements unless agreed otherwise upon vacating. Landlord Obligations in Dubai: - Hand over the property in good condition and allow full use to the tenant. - Maintain, repair, and restore the property unless agreed otherwise. - Avoid changes that hinder the tenant’s use of the property - Provide necessary permits for property modifications. Eviction Rights Of Tenants As Explained By Ahmad Al-Khalil What To Know If Your Landlord Gives You A Notice To Vacate In a situation where a landlord in Dubai serves a tenant with a 12-month notice to vacate (as required by law), it is imperative to understand the legal rights that govern such actions. The issue’s complexity lies not just in the notice period but also in the underlying reasons for the eviction itself and the dynamics of ownership changes of the property. According to the law, the landlord has a right to evict the tenant for one of the following reasons: 1. The landlord wishes to move into the property 2. The landlord wishes to renovate the property (extensive renovation or demolition) 3. The landlord wishes to sell the unit. Arbitrary refusal to renew tenancy agreements without one of these conditions above mentioned is not permissible. Tenants faced with eviction threats without clear legal grounds are advised to seek legal advice on their position and legal rights. What To Keep In Mind If The Landlord Wants To Sell The Property You Are Living In If the landlord’s motive is to sell the property and the sale has not been finalised within the notice period, the landlord may legally extend the tenancy with the agreement of the tenant. However, this changes if a buyer is involved. Should the new owner of the property be an investor, as opposed to an occupant, they are not permitted to evict the tenant only to re-rent the property. Conversely, if the new owner intends to occupy the property, they may be required to issue a new 12-month notice themselves. However, a few recent court decisions were issued stating that the new property owner can benefit from the 12-month notice served by the previous owner for the eviction of the tenant. It is important to note that we have seen varied decisions on this matter and it is subject to the presiding judge’s discretion, as judicial interpretations can vary. What To Know About Tenancy Renewals Tenancy renewals, as per UAE regulations, are conditional upon a 90-day notice if any contractual changes are to be made, including rental adjustments as determined by the RERA’s rental calculator. Absent such notice, the existing terms, including the rental rate, continue unaltered. The overarching principle in such legalities emphasises the importance of due process and the necessity for both landlords and tenants to abide by the established frameworks that uphold fair practice and property rights.