Can Dubai tenant be evicted by landlord without 12-month notice?

Property owner struggling to balance the books seeks the advice of expert Mario Volpi.

Mario Volpi advises on the latest property issues in the UAE. Pawan Singh / The National
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I would like to move into an apartment which I own but am renting out. I have three months before the expiration of the contract. I am aware that I need to give a 12-month notice by registered mail but what are my chances of going to the rent dispute committee and seeing if they will agree for the tenant to leave? I am currently residing in an apartment which I cannot afford as the rent keeps increasing based on the very dysfunctional Rera calculator. I am also paying more than Dh30,000 out of pocket for the maintenance fees of the apartment that I own, which is not covered by the rent amount. My dilemma is whether to bite the bullet and just send the tenant a one-year eviction notice or should I fight it in the dispute commission? I know that you cannot predict what the commission may decide, but can you comment as to how they side with these types of cases? KF, Dubai

I believe the only successful route to reclaiming your property back for your own use is to indeed send a 12-month notification of eviction, either notarised or via registered post, stating the reason for your present tenant’s eviction request. While I am sure that the rental dispute committee may be sympathetic to your current plight, your tenant also has rights which I’m sure will be upheld by them. Don’t forget that there is a fee of 3.5 per cent of the annual rent to consider too. The situation you find yourself in is obviously not ideal and I know you will definitely feel aggrieved having to pay service charges for facilities that you are not currently enjoying, especially as the current rent does not even cover these costs. Your best case, I believe, would be to organise the notice as soon as possible.

I rent an apartment in Al Ain with a contract approved by the municipality. This is my third year in the apartment. Last year, the landlord increased the rent by 33 per cent, giving me only nine days' notice which was verbal (the agent phoned to notify me). This year I have paid the agent with four cheques and I told him that I may need to leave the apartment in the middle of the contract as my company is moving. The agent said this would not be a problem and that I could vacate the property at any time. Now he claims I need to give them two months' notice of my intention to leave. How much notice would I need to give the agent of my intention to leave so I can have my cheques returned? SM, Al Ain

As per article 20 (3) of the tenancy law, either party (landlord or tenant) needs to give two months' notice in writing before the termination date of the contract about any changes to the agreement. This can include raising the rent, terminating the agreement or changing any of the terms of the lease. Your landlord therefore should not have been allowed to raise the rent last year as he gave you only nine days' notice. Obviously this is now water under the bridge, but you may like to use this information to aid in your negotiations. The reality is, however, that you need to give him the two months' notice to vacate.

I am an owner-occupier of a three-bed apartment in Business Bay, Dubai and have lived there for two years. Previously the housing fees column in our Dewa bill was zero. However, for the last three months they have started charging an amount of Dh395. Has there been a change in government policy? How do they calculate this figure? UU, Dubai

For a few years now, the muni­cipality has been informing the public that housing fees will be paid by all and that if this is not currently reflected on the Dewa invoice, it will be eventually. The fact that you have not had to pay this previously only means that you were not registered for it and now that it is showing on your bill means that you will be paying for it from now on. The way it is calculated is based approximately on 5 per cent of your annual rental amount, divided by 12 for the months. If you are now paying Dh395 per month, I calculated that your annual rent is approximately Dh95,000.

Mario Volpi is a real estate professional who has worked within the industry for the past 31 years in London and Dubai. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and they do not reflect in any way those of the institutions to which he is affiliated. It does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only. Please send any questions to

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