Homefront: ‘Can a bank evict me if my landlord defaults on the mortgage?’

If the tenant has registered an Ejari document, their tenancy contract is legal and valid

a lease agreement waiting to be signed with house keys

I registered an Ejari contract for a rental apartment in Dubai. The Ejari contract was registered on August 8 this year and I moved into the apartment on August 14 after obtaining the community move-in permit. I followed all procedures.

On August 17, a bank representative and a policeman from Dubai Courts visited the apartment and asked me to vacate the property immediately because the landlord had defaulted on mortgage payments and the title deed changed on August 10.

Despite having a valid Ejari contract, I am being asked to vacate the property immediately.

While I managed to recover 85 per cent of the rent amount paid to the landlord in a single cheque, I have not received the balance.

Is a bank representative legally allowed to walk into the property, ask me to vacate without giving sufficient notice and threaten me with legal action? Also, if a court order was in place, how was the Ejari contract registered?

The bank representative has given me a seven-day verbal notice to vacate the property and claims they have already served all relevant notices to the owner. He said that the bank is not legally obliged to serve the tenant a notice to vacate.

The bank has asked me to talk to the property owner to sort out the issue but vacate the apartment immediately. The bank agent is threatening me with legal action. What can I do? MV, Dubai

You have a legal tenancy agreement, so there is no need for you to panic.

Whether the landlord has defaulted on his mortgage payments or not, this should not affect your current tenancy contract.

When a property is sold from one landlord to another, the tenancy contract and all its terms and conditions remain in place, so this is also true in your case.

If the bank has taken over the ownership of the property, it will not affect your tenancy agreement. Any changes to this agreement have to be communicated (in writing), giving 90 days’ notice from the expiry of the contract.

Therefore, whoever the current landlord or owner is should not affect your tenancy.

Neither the bank nor the police have the right to evict you in this way. You can back this up with your legal Ejari contract.

A landlord can demand immediate eviction only when a tenant has defaulted on rental payments. Even then, the landlord is supposed to serve a 30-day written notice.

I would suggest that you immediately file a case at the Rental Dispute Settlement Committee in Deira, Dubai, because what has occurred is illegal. You need legal support to protect your rights.

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 23rd 2021, 4:00 AM