Homefront: ‘Will I be penalised if I change my mind about vacating a rented property?’

There is nothing in the law that states there should be compensation paid to the landlord if a tenant reconsiders their decision to move out

Dubai has registered positive rental growth, especially for villas, over the past year. Apartment rents have also increased but not at the same pace as villas or townhouses. Razan Alzayani / The National
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I currently rent a one-bedroom apartment in Dubai. I have served notice to vacate the apartment and my lease ends on January 9.

However, I am not satisfied with any properties that I have viewed. Am I allowed to change my mind and renew the lease or will I incur a penalty for this?

Also, what factors are driving the increase in rents in Dubai? The rents for some properties I viewed in 2020 are now considerably higher and the units are in demand.

Are more families and professionals moving to the UAE? I have been reading reports of how the UAE property market is oversupplied, so what is contributing to this rent hike? MM, Dubai

A contract is an agreement between two parties and if there are changes to that contract and both parties are OK with the changes, then it can go ahead with the amendments.

If you wish to change your mind and remain in your current rented property and your landlord has approved this, you can obviously go ahead with your new plans.

In terms of a penalty, there is nothing in the law that states there should be any compensation paid to the landlord if you have changed your mind. But again, I stress that this is between the parties involved.

With reference to the rental market, you are correct that over the past year we have seen positive rental growth, especially in the villa market. Apartment rents have risen, too, although not at the same pace as villas or townhouses.

These rental increases are largely due to the growth in population, which is steadily rising, and how the federal government has coped with the Covid-19 pandemic.

If you wish to change your mind and remain in your current rented property and your landlord has approved this, you can go ahead with your new plans
Mario Volpi, sales and leasing manager, Engel & Volkers

Many people from around the world decided to relocate to Dubai due to the vaccination and booster campaigns and country's efficient handling of the pandemic.

It is true that there is a lot of inventory on the wider rental market, but these properties are often in areas that are perhaps not as popular as other communities. In fact, there is a shortage of properties in sought-after locations, which, in turn, is also driving up rents.

I live in a rented property in Dubai. Although the building I live in is never fully occupied, of late, I have seen many people moving in.

A family has moved in to the apartment above mine. They have children and pets, who are constantly running around and causing a noise disturbance to my family and me.

We tried complaining to the building security guard, who conveyed the message to the occupants. However, this has been to no avail and the noise is getting increasingly unbearable.

Although I know it is hard to restrain young children, I am also entitled to quiet enjoyment of my rented property. What do you suggest I do? PB, Dubai

You are indeed correct when you say that you are entitled to quiet enjoyment of your rented property and your actions are therefore justified.

You need to keep up with your complaints through the proper channels but I also suggest that you speak to the occupants yourself to explain how their actions are affecting you negatively.

Generally speaking, people are reasonable and, yes, sometimes it is difficult to keep children quiet but the parents need to be mindful of this and ensure that they adopt a live-and-let-live environment for all.

If the problem persists, I would suggest speaking to the landlord, too.

Alternatively, you could try speaking to the police. While they may not necessarily get involved in such domestic issues, you could request that they pay a visit to the neighbours. If the police turn up at their door, I can assure you that they will pay attention to the problem.

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: January 06, 2022, 4:00 AM