Homefront: ‘What rights do I have if a bank repossesses my landlord’s property?’

The Dubai tenant has not been served a 12-month eviction notice

I have been renting a town house within walking distance of my daughter’s school for the past two years. My tenancy contract ends this month.

In mid-August, my landlord, who lives abroad, sent me an email and said he was finding it hard to pay his mortgage and the bank might, therefore, repossess his property. He indicated that we needed to move out and possibly leave the property before the contract ends, depending on a court ruling.

I made it clear to him that even though I was shocked by the news, I was keen to stay because of the proximity to school. I also asked if there was a way to contact the bank to understand the implications as a tenant.

After speaking to a few people, I was reassured not to feel pressured by his email as it is not considered an official notice of eviction.

He emailed me again on September 30 to remind me to hand over the property within 14 days. I had not received any written official eviction notice until this day.

When I told my landlord that he is required to provide me 12 months’ notice for eviction, he dismissed it and said it was not a requirement.

How should I respond to my landlord as he is now threatening to remove me forcefully? SQ, Dubai

The first thing to do is not panic. Despite the landlord’s situation, your tenancy contract will not be affected. In a nutshell, it does not matter who your landlord is as your contract remains valid.

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The [tenancy] contract automatically renews under the same terms and conditions as before, unless otherwise agreed
Mario Volpi

In terms of you staying in the property, the good news is that the contract automatically renews under the same terms and conditions as before, unless otherwise agreed. Any changes to a contract need to be communicated in writing, giving you 90 days’ notice before the expiry of the lease.

Even if the bank repossesses the property from your landlord, they cannot evict you without serving a 12-month notice. However, there has to be a valid reason for eviction – perhaps in this case, the bank may want to sell the property.

In a worst-case scenario, you will be entitled to stay for at least one more year before having to vacate.

I booked an apartment with a reputed property developer in Dubai. The sales and purchase agreement (SPA) states that my apartment offers views of the park. However, the unit delivered to me faces the road, therefore, driving down the property’s value.

I have been corresponding with the developer for the past nine months with no success. I was not available during the property handover. The developer demanded postdated cheques before the handover and is encashing them now.

I reported the matter to the Real Estate Regulatory Agency, which, in turn, referred the case to Dubai Courts. What can I do? FA, Dubai

Your case is very specific and needs documented evidence to support your claim.

You have obviously tried to communicate with the developer, but to no avail. I advise you to file a court case, given what the developer delivered is different from what was promised in the SPA.

Any buyer or investor is entitled to compensation if the property delivered is not the one promised. This includes differences in sizes, amenities offered and/or views.

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 28th 2021, 4:00 AM
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