Homefront: ‘Can my landlord evict me if he sells the property?’

A landlord is required to serve a written 12-month eviction notice to the tenant upon expiry of the tenancy contract

Eviction notice being delivered. Getty Images
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I’m a tenant in Dubai and my landlord wants to sell the apartment. I think he has already sold the property or is almost about to finish the sales process.

He wanted me to vacate the apartment at the end of my tenancy contract in November 2021. He called me 90 days before the contract expiry, but I did not want to move out as I could not find a new apartment in such a short period of time as I was overseas.

He then sent me the 12-month legal notice in July, saying he does not want to renew the tenancy contract.

Now, the real estate broker who sold the apartment and the owner are putting pressure on me asking me to tell them if I intend to renew the contract or whether I will leave next July.

The landlord also threatened to significantly increase my rent. If he did not send me a 90-day notice to make any changes to the tenancy contract, is he entitled to increase rent? Can you advise? FR, Dubai

A landlord can only request an eviction of their tenant for the following reasons:

  • If the landlord wishes to sell the property;
  • If the landlord wishes to use the property himself or by a first degree relative;
  • If the property requires extensive modernisation that would prove difficult for an existing tenant to stay during the renovation;
  • If the property requires demolition.

For all of these reasons, a written 12-month notice has to be sent to the tenant via registered mail or notary public. The notice should be served upon expiry of your current tenancy agreement.

You confirmed that your landlord served you the 12-month notice to vacate from July this year. Therefore, all things being considered, you will have to vacate in July 2022.

There are, however, a few points to consider before doing this. If you decide to contest the eviction, you should open a case at the Rental Dispute Settlement Committee at the Dubai Land Department in Deira.

The new landlord cannot increase your current rent unless the Real Estate Regulatory Agency’s Rental Calculator states this is allowed
Mario Volpi

If the new buyer is an owner-occupier, some judges in the past have requested the new owner serve their own 12-month notice in addition to the one issued by the current landlord. This could extend your stay, but only if a judge rules in your favour.

If the buyer is an investor, your present tenancy contract is valid, including all the existing terms and conditions, and therefore the buyer cannot request you to leave as this is not allowed.

It is important to note the new landlord cannot increase your current rent unless the Real Estate Regulatory Agency’s Rental Calculator states this is allowed. You can find details of the Rera Rental Calculator by visiting the DLD website or downloading the Dubai Rest app.

Unless the new landlord has given you at least 90 days’ notice, no alterations can be made to your existing tenancy contract. If the landlord insists on new changes, these have to be mutually agreed.

There has been a water leak in the apartment above mine for the past two weeks and it is causing damage in my apartment.

The property management company acknowledged there is a water leak, but said they cannot disconnect the water supply until they receive approval from the owner of the apartment above mine. However, he is not responding.

I have launched a formal complaint with the DLD. What else can I do? Should I approach a legal company to help me? HM, Dubai

The building management can turn the water supply off. There is a difference between turning off the water supply and disconnecting it. If the leakage is causing damage elsewhere, this is a relatively simple procedure.

If you have lodged a formal complaint with Rera, the only other thing you can do is to keep trying to get the building management to see sense. It might help if you suggest you could possibly cover any additional costs related to this action.

Mario Volpi is the sales and leasing manager at Engel & Volkers. He has worked in the property sector for more than 35 years in London and Dubai. The opinions expressed do not constitute legal advice and are provided for information only. Please send any questions to mario.volpi@engelvoelkers.com

Updated: August 26, 2021, 4:00 AM