Dubai tenant in a bind over puzzle of eviction notice

Dubai tenant insists he never received an eviction notice but landlord refuses to renew the rental contract. Mario Volpi advises.

The tenant has taken the case to Dubai's Real Estate Regulatory Authority because the landlord did not respond to his demands for a refund. Antonie Robertson / The National
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My contract expired this month and my landlord is refusing to renew it. He claims he sent us an eviction letter and even sent me a receipt stating that the courier came to our house, knocked on the door a couple times with no answer, so they stuck the paper on the door. There was no receiver signature. We don't recall seeing any papers on our door as we live in an apartment. What is the best way to proceed? I have been in contact with the Rental Dispute Centre and Rera but they don't have any clear response. One advised going and depositing the renewal cheques and then it will be up to the landlord to file a case against us. EA, Dubai

There are many instances where courier companies try to deliver a notarised letter but for some reason or another they fail to get a signature of the proposed recipient. Some companies come back another day and time, others just paste the notice on the door.

In the eyes of the court, a notice that has been pasted on to a property door is deemed “delivered” even without a signature, so if a landlord can show you proof, such as a photo of the pasted notice (some courier companies do this) and/or show you a copy of the notification itself, then this may be sufficient. Having said this, each potential dispute is looked at on a case-by-case basis by the rental committee.

Given that a tenancy contract automatically renews under the same terms and conditions as before, I suggest you organise your next renewal rental cheques quickly and deposit them with Rera, payable to your landlord. Doing this will prevent the landlord from trying to evict you for non-payment of rent.

While this does appear to be messy, clarity will come later when the authorities tell the landlord to come and collect his cheques and a new agreement will potentially be enforced. If the landlord does not agree, then he will have to open a case at the rental dispute committee himself but by then you will be able to defend your position in that;

a) You have never received the eviction notice

b) You will have paid for your next year’s rent

I cannot second guess what any given judge will decide on your particular case, but he may request the landlord renew for one more year with you, before allowing a possible future eviction the following year.

I have an apartment in Dubai that has been leased out to the current tenant for the last four years. Since the first rental cheque and on many occasions thereafter, the tenant has delayed paying the rent. I was tolerant of these delays but earlier this year the rent was delayed for more than six months and I was forced to send him a notice through the court to demand payment. Again this month the rent cheque bounced as the person does not have the funds to pay. I am in the process of sending another notice through the court. Assuming that the rent is cleared once the notice is served, can I then approach the rental committee to have the tenant evicted? The tenant only seems to pay once I issue a court notice. I cannot keep doing this every four months to claim rent. MR, Dubai

It’s true that what you are having to endure just to collect your rent is not acceptable. You are entitled to send a notification letter to the tenant, giving 30 days’ notice to pay the arrears before being allowed to start proceedings of eviction for reasons of non-payment of rent. During this notice period, if the tenant pays the rental arrears, then in the eyes of the law the tenant has rectified the situation and the position returns to the same point as if he was never in default. The law is silent as to the number of times a tenant can be in default as long as he eventually pays the arrears within the given notice period. I agree that this is tiresome, not to mention financially stressful, so I would say that it is worth initially approaching the rental committee for advice before actually filing a case.

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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