Homefront: ‘Can my landlord evict me if he wants to live in the property?’

The owner has to prove why they cannot live in an alternative property

Eviction notice being delivered. Getty Images
Powered by automated translation

I am a tenant in Dubai and my rental agreement ends on December 3 this year. The landlord wants to increase the rent, although he is not entitled to do so according to the Real Estate Regulatory Agency index.

When I rejected his rent increase proposal, he said that I could either pay a higher amount or he would serve me with a 12-month eviction notice this month because he wants to live in the house. The landlord owns two houses and lives in a rented property.

Can the landlord legally evict me? If I plan to dispute the eviction, can I reclaim the case fees?

If he serves me an eviction notice this month, do I have to leave the premises by September next year or at the end of my renewed lease in December 2022?

My understanding is that if the landlord does not want to renew the lease for a full year, he should send me a separate written request 90 days before the end of the contract to change the terms and it needs my approval as well. Does serving the eviction notice automatically change the terms of the rental contract? SR, Dubai

A landlord is entitled to evict a tenant for several reasons, one being for their own use of the property or for use by next of kin of the first degree.

In this case, the landlord should serve a 12-month eviction notice via notary public or registered mail upon expiry of the tenancy agreement. This means he is effectively allowing the tenant to live in the property for one more year.

Some landlords try to give the 12-month notice at any time during the duration of the rental contract. If the tenant contests this notice, a judge at the Rental Dispute Settlement Committee will decide when they need to vacate the property.

Since the reason for eviction in this case is for personal use or use by next of kin of first degree, the landlord has to prove that he doesn’t own a suitable alternative property that can be used. You confirm that he owns two properties, so the landlord may have to explain why he is choosing to evict you when he could possibly use one of his other properties instead.

If you contest the eviction, you will need to file a case at the Rental Dispute Settlement Committee. This will initially cost you 3.5 per cent of the rental amount. Should you win the case, the judge often adds costs to the award.

The landlord and tenant must remember that any changes to an existing contract should be made in writing (email is fine), but this communication has to be done at least 90 days before the expiry of the rental agreement. These changes can include many things such as a rental increase or decrease, the number of rental cheques payable and the length of the agreement, among others.

These changes or proposals for change need approval from both sides. Until such time as these agreed changes take effect, the contract remains the same.

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: September 16, 2021, 4:00 AM