Homefront: ‘How long can I remain in a property if it is going to be demolished?’

The landlord has to give at least 12 months’ notice to the tenant

Eviction notice being delivered. Getty Images
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I run a laundry business out of a rented unit in Dubai. My tenancy expired on October 30 this year. I notified the real estate company two weeks before the expiry of my contract that I was waiting to receive my chequebook from the bank and promised to visit them for renewal of the lease.

However, they had verbally informed me two months before the expiry of the lease that the building would be demolished.

I visited the real estate company’s office with my chequebook and other relevant documents on October 31. However, they told me that I had to vacate the shop because my tenancy had expired and the building would be demolished.

All other shop tenants also went through similar procedures at the time of renewal and were asked to sign a note in Arabic on the Ejari document.

Am I legally entitled to remain in the shop until I find a suitable alternative? I have spent about Dh20,000 in two years on this shop to run my business and will need to spend a similar amount in new premises.

Can you advise me on how long I can continue to remain in the property? SH, Dubai

There are four reasons why a landlord can request eviction of their tenant: if the property is for sale; for one’s own use or use by next of kin of first degree; for extensive refurbishment, which prevents the tenant from living in the property while the work is being carried out; and for demolition.

In each of the four reasons listed above, the landlord has to serve a written notification of eviction giving at least 12 months’ notice. This notification has to be sent either via notary public or registered mail.

The landlord has to serve a written notification of eviction giving at least 12 months’ notice. This notification has to be sent either via notary public or registered mail
Mario Volpi, sales and leasing manager, Engel & Volkers

If your landlord insists on evicting you along with other tenants without serving 12 months’ notice, my advice would be to file a case with the Rental Dispute Settlement Committee in Deira. They will advise you on how to proceed.

I filed a rental dispute case against my landlord with Sharjah Municipality because he is not providing me with a no-objection certificate to cancel my tenancy contract.

After a few months of futilely waiting to hear from my landlord, we had an online hearing for the case. However, the judge did not attend.

The municipality now claims that I did not attend the hearing, although I showed them proof that I was in attendance. The judgment was in favour of the real estate company owing to this.

I have been asked to pay three months’ rent worth Dh9,500. What I can do? MZ, Sharjah

Is it possible that you can appeal the judgment based on your point that you were present at the online hearing?

Losing a case is one thing but losing it over a disputed scenario is frustrating.

I suggest you speak to a friendly lawyer, who can advise you on how to lodge an appeal on the grounds of misinformation.

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 30, 2021, 4:00 AM