Tenant Rights In Dubai: Legal Guidance From Lawyer Ahmad Al-Khalil


In Dubai, the rental market is thriving, offering everything from upscale villas to studio apartments. There's a growing need for family-friendly accommodation, especially in luxury and mid-range neighbourhoods. While tenants have an array of options to suit their budgets, it's crucial to be aware of your rights as a tenant. To provide clarity on this subject, Connector spoke to Ahmad Al-Khalil, a highly experienced lawyer and legal consultant, to understand the fundamental rights tenants have in Dubai.

With more than two decades of legal expertise in mergers, acquisitions, commercial contracts, and employment law, Ahmad Al-Khalil brings extensive experience to the table. Based in Dubai, he's witnessed the intricate network of contracts and legal safeguards that dictate the tenant-landlord dynamic in the UAE. As the population continues to rise, both tenants and landlords must understand their rights and responsibilities as outlined by the law.

Understanding The Basics Of Rental Agreements 

If you're searching for properties in Dubai, you've probably encountered the term 'Ejari'. But if you're unsure about what Ejari means, let's simplify it for you.

Ejari, managed by the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA), is a program that mandates the registration of all rental contracts. This standardised process aims to protect the interests of both tenants and landlords. While landlords can include extra conditions, tenants must be informed of their fundamental rights up front, as these additional terms will shape their relationship further.

Why Is Ejari A Must? 

You might be wondering why Ejari matters so much. Apart from making your lease contract legally binding, Ejari is essential for upholding transparency and fairness in Dubai's rental market. It ensures that all parties comply with the law and promotes a level playing field for tenants and landlords. 

Tenant Rights When A Property Is Sold While A Tenant Is Still Living There 

Now that we've covered the basics, let's delve into tenant rights when a property is sold while a tenant is still living there.

  • In cases where a property is sold while a tenant still resides there, the new owner is obligated to uphold the terms of the existing tenancy agreement.
  • Changes to the contract terms are permitted within specific timelines, typically necessitating a 90-day notice before the lease concludes, as outlined in Article 14 of the Dubai Tenancy Law.
  • Importantly, the tenant cannot be forced to renegotiate rental terms or conditions solely due to the change in property ownership.
  • The new owner must adhere to the original agreement established between the previous landlord and the tenant.
  • This arrangement safeguards the tenant's rights and ensures continuity and stability, even after the property changes hands.

Rights When A New Property Owner Wishes To Move Into The Unit Themselves 

  • According to Dubai's rental laws, if a new property owner intends to occupy the unit themselves, they must still provide the existing tenant with a 12-month notice period.
  • This notice period is mandatory unless the previous landlord has already served an eviction notice to the tenant.
  • The purpose of this regulation is to safeguard tenants from abrupt displacement and ensure they have adequate time to find alternative accommodation.
  • The new property owner cannot simply compel the tenant to vacate the premises immediately upon acquiring the property.
  • They must adhere to the tenant's existing rights and provide a complete 12-month notice period before reclaiming the unit for their personal use.

Why Are These Rules In Place 

The legalities surrounding renting in Dubai are structured to balance the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants. By adhering to these stipulations and maintaining open, documented communications, both parties can avoid common legal pitfalls and ensure a harmonious tenancy. 

As always, consulting with property attorneys to tailor specific contracts and address unique circumstances can further safeguard these relationships.

Ahmad Al-Khalil

Lawyer And Legal Consultant

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