Homefront: 'Can a landlord serve an eviction notice before a tenancy contract expires?'

Property owners must give 12 months' notice to tenants through either registered mail or notary public

It is legal for a landlord to serve an eviction notice to a tenant via registered mail if they are selling the property. Alamy
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My tenant has been living in my property since May 1, 2014. We have been renewing the lease annually since then. The current lease is valid from May 1, 2021, to April 30, 2022.

I know that if a landlord wishes to sell their property, they are legally bound to notify the tenant about the reason for eviction at least 12 months before the date of eviction through either the notary public or registered mail.

I wish to sell my property and want to serve my tenant a 12-month eviction notice starting from October 1 this year so they can hand over the vacant property by September 30 next year.

By law, should I instead serve the eviction notice only upon expiry of the current lease term, which is on April 30 next year? In this case, will the 12-month notice be from May 1, 2022, to April 30, 2023?

Also, since I live in India, do I need to send the eviction notice to my tenant by registered mail only? SD, India

Serving an eviction notice to a tenant because you are selling the property is legal. Sending it via registered mail is one of the correct ways of communicating the notice.

Law 33 of 2008 states that the 12-month notice should be served upon expiry of the tenancy contract. Therefore, in your case, you should serve the eviction notice just before April 30, 2022.

This means that the landlord will, in effect, renew the tenancy contract one last time for a year before the tenant needs to vacate.

Some landlords serve the 12-month notice at any time during the lease. This is fine if the tenant agrees. However, if the tenant contests this and files a case at the Rental Dispute Settlement Committee in Dubai, a judge will decide if the landlord needs to serve the 12-month notice only upon expiry of the lease.

Some landlords serve the 12-month eviction notice at any time during the lease. This is fine if the tenant agrees
Mario Volpi, sales and leasing manager, Engel & Volkers

If your tenant agrees to vacate, then all is good. However, it can get difficult if they choose to contest the date on which the notice was served. This is a chance you must take.

I moved into a villa in Abu Dhabi in 2017. I pay the telecom bill and my landlord takes care of the water and energy costs. The year I moved in, I requested my landlord to give me a Tawtheeq certificate to confirm the tenancy contract’s legitimacy and he agreed.

My company did not ask for a new Tawtheeq certificate until this year. However, my landlord now says he cannot issue this document. What can I do?

I would prefer to stay in the villa but my company requires the Tawtheeq document to release my full salary.

I have confirmed in TAMM, the platform that provides direct access to all Abu Dhabi government services, that the original Tawtheeq certificate was genuine.

My lease is valid for 12 months and is up for renewal in May. CH, Abu Dhabi

You do not mention if your landlord is an individual or a company. However, if there are difficulties in issuing a Tawtheeq for the current year, a possible reason may have to do with the UAE pass or smart hub access.

I would suggest that you close the last Tawtheeq (the one done in 2017), not cancel it and create a new one. There will be a Dh50 fee plus administration charges.

This will not affect your power connection. You will then be able to deal with the issues regarding your employer.

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: October 07, 2021, 6:18 AM