Does Dubai tenant have to pay compensation to landlord if moving out without notice?

Mario Volpi advises a landlord whose tenant failed to serve notice 90 days before the end of the contract and then left the property.

Mario Volpi advises on the latest property issues in the UAE. Pictured, Palm Jumeirah in Dubai. Paulo Vecina / The National
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What happens if a tenant fails to serve notice 90 days before the end of the contract – instead only serving it 45 days before and via email – and then decides to leave the property when the contract expires? Can the landlord demand that the tenant pays a rent value for a per­iod of 45 days? And if the tenant refuses, can the landlord withhold the security deposit? MB, Dubai

According to Law 33 of 2008, any changes to a contract have to be communicated by either party, giving at least 90 days’ not­ice. If no communication takes place, the contract automatic­ally renews under the same terms and conditions as before. With regards to your question, the quick answer would be “no” to the withholding of the de­posit. Given that your tenant has not given the required notice means that any “compensation” you may take will only be as a result of negotiations with the tenant, rather than just keeping a portion of the deposit. Make the tenant aware that he has missed the notice window and as such, you are entitled to reimbursement. That said, getting any form of settlement is going to be difficult as the law is silent on such cases. To recap, my advice would be to try to negotiate a payment for the inconvenience caused, but if this is received negatively, try to use the situation to your advan­tage by getting the tenant to help you find a new occupier. You never know, he may have a friend looking to move.

My husband and I rent in Ras Al Khaimah and we decided to renew our lease for six months as we weren't sure, at the time, if we were staying a whole year due to my husband's job move to Abu Dhabi. For the year before the renewal, we paid Dh50,000, but because we only signed a six-month lease, the landlord charged us Dh30,000, saying it would have been a ­total of Dh60,000 if we had signed for the whole 12 months. Now we are due for another lease, but this time we are committing to a whole year. We want to ask him if we can pay in four cheques, but we are concerned he may not let us or raise the rent again because of our demand. Would a rent rise be legal and do we have the right to pay in as many cheques as we want? EJ, Ras Al Khaimah

Under the RAK tenancy law, the landlord cannot raise the rent for a period of three years and then after this time the increase is capped at 5 per cent for residential properties. For commercial, the rent cannot be raised until after two years and then it is capped at 7 per cent. Having said this, in your case the terms and conditions were changed and agreed upon by both parties because of you wishing to stay on in the pro­perty, but under a short-term arrangement. As in most cases, clear communication is the way forward in trying to agree different terms between a landlord and tenant. The ability to nego­tiate with your landlord and the past relationship you have had with him will determine the success in getting your request of paying in four cheques agreed. Either way, he cannot raise the rent again without your consent. If you come across further issues with this, you can raise them at the RAK municipality for confirmation.

I am a landlord and I handed over the eviction notice to my tenant one year before the expiry of the contract and had a stamp from the company confirming they had received it. Is that OK or it should have been sent via registered mail? HO, Dubai

According to Law 33 of 2008, there are only two recognised ways of communicating the 12 months eviction notice. One is via registered mail and the ­other is via notary public, which often gets delivered via registered mail too. Delivering the notice in any other way is not, in the eyes of the law, the correct method and potentially you do open yourself up to problems later if the tenant disputes the delivery method. Having said that, if your tenant has acknow­ledged receiving the notice with a company stamp, it would be difficult for them to go on to say they never received it, so you could be OK.

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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