Dubai eviction notice posted on tenant’s door – is it valid?

Tracking down a tenant to hand over an eviction notice can be tricky for registered mail companies. Mario Volpi is here to help.

Apartment buildings on Sheikh Zayed Road in the JLT neighbourhood of Dubai. Antonie Robertson / The National
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I have a query on the 12-month notary notice that needs to be issued for the tenant to vacate. I issued such a notice and Dubai courts used a courier company to deliver the notice to the tenant. They have sent me the report and it indicates that since the tenant was unavailable, the notice was left at the door. Is there anything more that needs to be done? SD, Dubai

Sending the 12-month notification via notary public is sufficient for its validity, but most of the time the courts also send it to the property using registered mail. The common delivery problem that most registered mail companies face is actually handing the document to the intended recipient, therefore pasting it on the door is deemed as “delivered” in the eyes of the court. At this stage there is no more you need to do, but if you do manage to speak with your tenant, make sure that they are aware of your intentions and their obligation to move.

I emailed a rent increase notification to my tenant almost four months before the lease was due to end. The increase accords with Rera guidelines, but he has chosen to remain quiet. I am assuming that he will pay the increase, because he has not given any notice to vacate. However, in the event that he does not comply, what option is available to enforce the increase, bearing in mind that my wife and I do not live in Dubai? SS, Canada.

As the landlord, you are entitled to an increase in rent as long as you inform the tenant of this increase at least 90 days before the expiration of the agreement, and the Rera rental calculator allows for this. You appear to have complied with both requirements, so you would be entitled to your rent increase. If the tenant does not comply with your request, you will have to file a case at the rental dispute committee, which will involve a fee of 3.5 per cent of the rent. Given that you don’t live in Dubai, you have two choices. Either you visit Dubai to sort this out personally, or arrange for a power of attorney (PoA) to act on your behalf. Organising a PoA from abroad can, unfortunately, take several weeks, so my advice would be to come to Dubai to initially open the case against your tenant and while you are here go to the Dubai court to do a PoA with a trusted person to act on your behalf for when you return home.

After a slew of rental committee interventions, my landlord renewed the lease last year but sent me a 12-month eviction notice immediately after the renewal, citing his intention to sell the property. Since the renewal last year, we have not received any calls from either him or any of his agents for a viewing request. I emailed him couple of times sharing my intent to renew the contract this year as well, as the property has not been sold yet. In case he disagrees about renewing the lease, am I within my legal rights to file a case against him as the property is not yet sold? RA, Dubai

Your landlord does have a right to send you the 12-month notification to vacate notice for reason of selling the property, but this has to be served upon expiry of your tenancy agreement, not during. If the notice is served correctly in this way and after the 12-month period the property still remains unsold, the law is silent on whether you actually have to vacate at the end of the notice period if the property is not sold. The actual decision would be left up to a judge of the Rental Committee once a case has been filed.

I suggest you continue to communicate with the landlord that you wish to renew. But if he insists that you have to vacate then I would file a case, especially if the landlord has made no real effort to find a buyer by the manner of his actions – such as not hosting any viewings.

Mario Volpi has worked in the real estate industry in Dubai and in London for the past 30 years. Send any questions to mariovolpi@aol.com

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only

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