Evicted tenant is refusing to vacate Dubai property

Mario Volpi advises two property owners whose tenants are refusing to budge despite receiving legal eviction orders.

While not a perfect system, a courier posting a notarised eviction notice to a door is considered legal delivery. Mona Al-Marzooqi / The National
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My husband and I bought a property with a tenant living in it in July 2015. He is on a five-month rolling contract, as that was his time remaining from the previous owner. After a lot of backwards and forwards and underhanded tactics from his side, we issued him with a court-stamped public notary eviction notice that expired at the end of April. He refused to accept the notice, so I attached the notarised document to his front door last year using a courier.

He is still refusing to leave the property and our lawyer is currently preparing paperwork to open a court case against him. What is the procedure now? He has advised us that the notice needs to be published in a local newspaper before opening the court case. He has refused the notices and is refusing to leave. I have read and researched everything I possibly can, but I am still at a loss as to what the actual procedure is as everyone and everywhere has a slightly different version of events for the steps to follow. EI, Dubai

I presume that you had bought this property for your own use? This said, serving a 12 months’ notice to vacate for this reason has to be done via notary public or registered mail. When a courier company finds difficulty in actually handing the document to the intended recipient, they eventually paste it on the door of the mentioned property. This practice is obviously not 100 per cent perfect, however, it is regarded as delivered if they have to do this. The tenant can reject this form of notification but it does not take away the point that you have issued a notarised 12 months’ notice to vacate. My advice is to file a case with the Rental Dispute Settlement Committee (RDSC). This does not require the services of a lawyer, who no doubt will be more expensive than the cost of 3.5 per cent of the annual rent amount to open the case at the RDSC. Going down the “other court” route does have certain procedures, which can include making a notice visible in a newspaper and will surely take a much longer time to conclude. The RDSC will aim to have heard the case within 30 days.

I have had a tenant in my apartment for eight years. Last year, upon expiry of the lease, I served her a 12-month notarised eviction notice because I plan to sell my apartment. The expiry of the lease is now nearing but the tenant has blatantly refused to vacate. The delivery report for the eviction document says the notice was pasted on the door of the apartment. How can I make her leave? What should I do? AT, Dubai

It appears you have done everything correctly to serve your tenant the required notice for the eviction. When the notarised notice is sent via registered mail, there can be instances when the tenant “hides” behind the notion of never receiving the paperwork. Courier companies do sometimes have difficulty in actually handing the documents directly to the tenant. They are supposed to attempt delivery on more than one occasion, and by this I mean a courier ought to come back another time if the recipient is out when first delivering the notice. Having said this, the courier company does eventually paste the notice on the door of the mentioned property and this is deemed “delivered”. My advice would be to speak with the tenant to explain this but if she continues to remain defiant, you have no other alternative but to file a case at the RDSC to gain vacant possession of the property.

Mario Volpi is the chief sales officer for Kensington Exclusive Properties and has worked in the property industry for over 30 years in London and Dubai. The opinions expressed do not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only. Please send any questions to mario.volpi@kensington.ae

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