Homefront: ‘Can my landlord evict us and re-let the property at a higher rent?

Dubai tenant wants to find out if the property owner will eventually sell or find a new occupant

If the tenant vacates and the landlord subsequently has difficulty in selling and therefore goes on to re-let the property, he has to offer them the right of first refusal. Alamy
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Our landlord served us with a 12-month public notarised document to vacate the property we rent at the end of our lease on September 2, 2022. The landlord originally said he intends to sell the property.

However, the owner now said he will only attempt to market and sell the property after we vacate. We feel this is a ploy to remove us from the property and rent it out at a higher price and that he has no intention to sell the property.

We want a new tenancy contract. What rights do we have as tenants to dissuade the landlord and enforce a new tenancy contract?

If we vacate next year, how can we check with the Real Estate Regulatory Agency if the landlord sold the property or broke the law by not selling the property and renting it out instead? JT, Dubai

You are well within your rights to negotiate with your landlord about any point in your agreement. The law steps in at certain points to put a time frame on things.

You could tell your landlord that you can vacate the property after a certain notice period, for example, should a buyer be found.

There are two sets of buyers that will be viewing. The investors, who presumably will want to keep you in the property, and end users, who will expect you to vacate.

If the landlord allows you to extend your contract, you could keep an eye on who is coming to the property for viewings.

Neither Rera nor the Dubai Land Department allow specific data to be made public, such as who bought what property
Mario Volpi, sales and leasing manager at Engel & Volkers

Unfortunately, neither Rera nor the Dubai Land Department allow specific data to be made public, such as who bought what property.

If you vacate and the landlord subsequently has difficulty in selling and therefore goes on to lease out the property, he has to offer you the right of first refusal.

In this scenario, the only way you can find out if he has re-let the property is to check online portals to see if the unit is being advertised. Another way would be to knock on the door and ask the occupier the name of their landlord.

If you find that it is the same landlord and you were not offered the right of first refusal, you can file a case at the Rental Dispute Settlement Centre against the landlord for compensation.

I am a property agent. As per my knowledge, Rera does not allow a landlord to evict tenants from a rental property unless he serves a notice not less than one year before contract expiry.

A landlord can evict a tenant from the property only if he or his next of kin want to reside there or the unit needs repair that might be harmful for anyone living there.

Is my understanding correct or has there been a change in Rera's laws? KK, Dubai

A landlord can only request eviction from an existing tenant under the following circumstances: for the sale of the property, to move in themselves or allow their first-degree relatives to do so, for modernisation or for property demolition.

The eviction request is legal only if the 12-month notice is sent via notary public or registered mail.

However, a contract is an agreement between two people and the details of that agreement are to be respected by the parties as long as it is in writing and signed by all parties, irrespective of what the law states.

In most cases, the wording in the law says “unless otherwise agreed”. This means that irrespective of what is written in the law, if two or more parties agree on something else, this stands.

However, if there is a disagreement, a judge will, by default, revert to what is written in the law in most cases.

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: November 25, 2021, 4:00 AM