Homefront: 'I lease a private room and my rent has jumped 60% - is this allowed?'

Sharing accommodation is not protected under the law compared with renting an entire apartment

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - Reporter: N/A. Stock. General View of a sign for rooms to rent in Al Barsha. Friday, July 3rd, 2020. Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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I rent a room in a share apartment and my landlord recently increased the rent by 20 per cent with only 30 days' notice. They then increased the rent by an additional 40 per cent with less than five days' notice.

Is the landlord permitted to do this under the current rental laws? FT, Dubai

Under normal circumstances, when dealing with whole apartments or villa properties, landlords can increase the rent provided they have sent a written notification of the same (email is fine) to the tenant within 90 days of the expiry of the tenancy agreement and if the Real Estate Regulatory Agency rental calculator allows for such an increase.

A landlord cannot increase the rent by 20 per cent giving only 30 days' notice and, of course, the additional 40 per cent again is not possible.

However, it is important to note that the above is only relevant to tenants who are renting a full apartment or villa and have a legitimate Ejari contract.

In your case, I would check that renting rooms is allowed in your building because, unfortunately, sharing accommodation is not protected under the law compared with renting an entire apartment.

This is because an Ejari contract is not issued for single rooms. Due to this, unfortunately, you are left at the mercy of an unscrupulous landlord who can dictate their own terms and you will not have any redress as your contract, if you have one, will not be registered with Ejari.

Your options are limited: either you agree to the rent increase that your landlord has set or you move out and seek other suitable living accommodation.

I read with interest your recent Homefront column on landlords serving eviction notices before tenancy contracts expire. My landlord has issued us with a 12-month notice to leave the property we are renting.

Our contract expired in August, so our understanding from this and from our dialogue with Rera is that we would not be obliged to move out until August 2023.

However, the landlord states that they have full agreement from the Rental Dispute Settlement Centre on this and can issue one year's notice now. Is your advice correct – or is my landlord playing games? JC, Dubai

Law 33 of 2008 is the amended law of 26 of 2007, which governs the relationship between landlords and tenants.

As per Clause 2 of Law 33, the wording states that the 12 months' notice should be served “upon expiry” of the tenancy agreement. In theory, what the law is stating is that if a landlord wants to evict their tenant under the permissible reasons, they will allow the tenant to stay for one more year in the property from the original date of the tenancy.

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In theory, what the law is stating is that if a landlord wants to evict their tenant under the permissible reasons, they will allow the tenant to stay for one more year in the property from the original date of the tenancy
Mario Volpi

I stand by what I said in the Homefront column that you mention in your letter because this is the wording of the law. What some landlords are doing, however, is sending the 12-month notice at any time and in this scenario, it is up to the judges at the RDSC to decide whether this is sufficient.

The law states that for the purpose of clause 2 of Law 33, the landlord shall notify the tenant the reason they want them to vacate the property at least 12 months before setting the vacating date through notary public or registered mail.

It would appear that, for now, most judges are accepting a 12-month notification to vacate at any time.

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: December 02, 2021, 4:00 AM
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