Mario Volpi advises a Dubai landlord who is having problems registering the contract with Ejari. Pawan Singh / The National
Mario Volpi advises a Dubai landlord who is having problems registering the contract with Ejari. Pawan Singh / The National

Ejari headache for new Dubai landlord as tenant refuses to update contract



My husband and I bought a property in Jumeirah Heights last month, which is being leased. After some delays, we finalised the sale on August 18. On the same day,the title deed was issued in our names. The previous owner renewed the contract with the tenant until August 13 next year. Presently, the tenant has the contract with previous owner's name on it and the contract has not been registered with Ejari. We went to the land department for help and they said the contract had to be in our name to have it registered with Ejari. We informed the tenant but he said he did not want to change the names in the contract. What are our rights as owners? DB, Dubai

It is not up to the tenant to decide in whose name the tenancy contract is. You are the new legal owners, therefore the contract should be amended to reflect this. My advice would be to explain to the tenant that if you are not on the contract, then how can you be responsible for any issues that may arise for the property. I’m sure that the previous owner will not be interested in sorting anything out for the tenant. Once he has grasped this, I suggest you explain that you will do the change at Ejari. For this you will need copies of the tenant’s passport, the previous Ejari registration, your passport, the tenancy agreement, a Dewa bill and the title deed. Legalising the contract is not open to discussion, so please explain this to the tenant.

I moved into a one-bedroom apartment in Discovery Gardens in March 2011, with a rental price of Dh40,000 per year. Over the past two years it has gone up to Dh53,000, which I understand is still a very good price for the market these days. Now I am liable for the air-conditioning bill (this has been the case since June). I pay Dh700 per month for the air conditioning, plus a Dh725 service charge every three months. This adds an extra Dh12,000 per year, taking my annual accommodation cost to Dh65,000. Recently, the real estate agent gave me an eviction notice (not by courier), as the property is being sold and I need to move out by next June. Is the eviction notice legal even though it wasn't served through the court? Do I have a chance of staying in my apartment or does he have the right to evict me? The apartment has yet to be sold. LG, Dubai

Despite the rising running costs of your apartment, it is evident that you wish to remain living there. Here are my recommendations: a 12 months’ notice to request eviction of a tenant by a landlord has to be served either by notary public or registered mail. The fact that your notice was given to you by the agent, in what would appear not to be the prescribed manner of delivery, would not deem it legal, unless of course it was notarised.

Assuming it was not notarised, the landlord is still of the belief that he has given you the correct notice to vacate. So I suggest that you do nothing at this stage, but 90 days before the expiry of the current tenancy agreement, let him know (in writing) that you wish to renew the lease. He obviously will not accept this, as he is of the opinion that he has sent you the correct notice. But at this point you can seek justice from the rental committee by filing a case against eviction on the grounds that the notice was not sent in the proper manner.

My landlord issued an eviction letter last year, stating he wanted to move in. He now says he wants to sell and has agreed to extend my rent for another year, but only if I accept a rent increase of more than 15 per cent. Does he have to issue a new eviction letter, as he has changed the reason or does the first eviction letter remain valid? DM, Dubai

The law states that when a landlord wishes to evict a tenant for a certain reason (selling or moving in himself are the two main ones), he has to give you 12 months’ notice upon the expiration of your tenancy agreement. And it must be sent either via notary public or registered mail. Therefore, as long as he has done this, I’m sure the rental committee doesn’t specify that another eviction letter has to be issued just because he has changed his reason, as both are legitimate.

Mario Volpi works at Asteco Property Management and has more than 30 years of experience in the real estate industry in Dubai and London. Send any questions to mariov@asteco.com

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

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