Evicted Dubai resident finds landlord has re-let property - what can be done?

Property expert Mario Volpi advises a tenant who was told the landlord wanted to use the property for his own use.

Mario Volpi helps a Dubai resident who was evicted. Charles Crowell for The National

I have been evicted by the landlord under the guise of her wanting the property for her own use. Three weeks later she has rented it out again. I have been to the rental committee and found it all very confusing. Would you kindly recommend someone whom I could hire for advice? DC, Dubai

I am sorry to see that you have been evicted from your property but am a bit perplexed as to your comment regarding the rent committee. I know it can be a daunting task making a complaint, but the law is very clear when it says that if a landlord demands eviction due to himself or his immediate next of kin wanting to move back into the property, then after he has served a 12 months’ notice via notary public or registered mail and then fails to actually move in, he cannot then relet the property to anyone else. This applies for a period of two years for a residential property or three years for a commercial property. If the landlord does indeed relet to someone else (as in your case) during this period, you should open a case at the rent committee at the land department in Deira, whereby according to the law, you should be entitled to compensation. If you still want to hire a lawyer, I can recommend a couple of firms.

My landlord served me 12 months’ notice last year, and stated in the registered mail that the contract is non-renewable and that he is selling the property, so I should vacate. His agent contacted me a few weeks ago and agreed to lease the property at a higher rental value. But when I approached him with the value specified by Rera’s rental index, he informed me that the new buyer will only accept the higher value. I have asked the agent to either put me in touch with the new buyer or renew the contract. Subsequently, I have now been threatened by legal action. Am I within my rights to stay in the property and demand that the current landlord renews the contract as per Rera’s Rental Index, as the 12 months’ notice has expired? AM, Dubai

The new owner cannot ask you to leave then relet the property out again to someone else at a higher rent. The 12 months’ notice to vacate was given due to the previous landlord selling the property. The buyer turns out to be an investor, and as the new owner he also takes over the existing tenancy agreement. This being the case, he is bound by the Rera rent calculator, not vacant market price. If the new landlord insists on charging a higher than allowed rent, my advice would be to open a case at the rent committee in Deira.

I have been asked to vacate my property by way of an eviction notice and leave after the end of my second year. I rented my first 12 months from June 12, 2013 to June 12, 2014. Last week I signed my contract for my second year in the property, although this has not yet started. Then I received a notice of eviction letter from my landlord saying that after 12 months from this date I am to vacate the property as he is going to sell. I was under the impression that he could only give me this notice after the end of my second year, hence I would need to have completed two years before he can give me 12 months' notice. Is there any truth in this? What can I do to fight this request? MH, Dubai

Law 26 of 2007 was amended by law 33 of 2008. The latter law explains that a landlord does not now have to wait two years before requesting an eviction of the tenant for the reason you explained. Your landlord does have the right to now serve you this 12 months’ notice due to him selling the property. If the landlord sells to an owner occupier, then regrettably you will have to vacate as per the eviction notice (assuming this notice was sent either via notary public or registered mail). If, however, the buyer is an investor he would obviously wish to rent out the property. This is when you would be able to negotiate with this new landlord to remain in the property.

If the property remains unsold up to the end of your 12-month notice then you also have the right to negotiate with your present landlord because the notice you were given becomes null and void due to the property not actually selling. The owner is not allowed to evict you to then relet it for a higher rent to someone else.

Mario Volpi is the managing director of Prestige Real Estate in Dubai (prestigedubai.com). He has 30 years of property industry experience in the emirate and London. Send any questions to mario@prestigedubai.com

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only. Readers are encouraged to seek appropriate independent legal advice

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