Homefront: ‘Can I evict my tenant to move into the property?’

The Dubai landlord wants to avoid serving the 12-month eviction notice to his tenant

Young couple receiving apartment key from landlord or real estate agent, Germany
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I recently purchased a property that is rented out. However, I want to move into the property.

Although the law says that a one-year eviction notice needs to be served, the tenancy contract states that the landlord has the right not to renew the lease by serving the tenant with a notice to vacate 90 days before contract expiry.

The previous owner of the property signed the tenancy contract and it ends in January. Do I have to serve the tenant a one-year eviction notice? Please advise. SM, Dubai

The law states that if you buy a property to live in and it is currently rented, you have to serve a 12-month notice to the tenants for them to vacate.

Although the current rental contract states the landlord has the right not to renew the lease, this is illegal. The tenant always has the right to renew the lease or not.

The landlord does not have this automatic right unless he wants to sell the property or either he or his next of kin of first degree intend to move in. Then, there has to be a 12-month written notice sent to the tenant.

Therefore, unless you can come to some sort of private arrangement with the current tenants, they have the right to stay for 12 more months before vacating.

Remember that the notice has to be sent officially, either through notary public or registered mail. Any other way is not considered valid.

The law states that if you buy a property to live in and it is currently rented, you have to serve a 12-month notice to the tenants for them to vacate
Mario Volpi

I rented a villa in Dubai and received an astronomical utility bill in March because the water tank in the car park was damaged.

I discovered the water leak only after receiving the bill and promptly informed the landlord. It took him a few weeks to send a handyman to fix the issue, so I continued to be charged exorbitant utility bills. I had to pay the bills or risk having my water and electricity line disconnected.

I am now trying to reclaim the money but the landlord says he is only responsible for the amount from the time I informed him.

Why do I have to pay the bills incurred before informing him as I was also not aware of the leak? Is the tenant expected to check his water consumption on a daily basis? HH, Dubai

In a situation such as yours, the key to any future agreement lies in negotiation between the parties and the aim is for a win-win scenario for all.

It is clear that this situation is nobody’s fault but the owner is ultimately responsible as the property is his responsibility and the damage was not of your doing. Having said this, I would urge you to be fair going forward because you will benefit from a good landlord-tenant relationship.

Given that you informed the owner immediately after receiving the abnormally high bill and that is when you discovered the leak, my understanding is that you are claiming compensation for the March utility bill.

The landlord confirmed that he will take responsibility from the moment you informed him, which seems fair. I believe you should settle the March bill yourself but ask the landlord for compensation from that date onwards.

This seems to be the fairest way to resolve the matter unless the landlord has taken out building insurance for the villa, in which case the cost will be lowered.

In any case, keep the communication factual but, most importantly, cordial to resolve this and any other issues that may arise in the future.

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 21, 2021, 4:00 AM