Homefront: ‘I have not renewed my tenant’s lease for six years’

The rental contract will automatically renew each year under the same terms if there is no communication between the parties

A Dubai landlord has not renewed their tenancy contract for six years but wants to ask the tenant to leave the property. Alamy
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I have had a tenant in my property for the past 11 years. However, he was on a rental contract for five years only.

After his contract expired following the fifth year, I forgot to renew the lease. The tenant continued to live in my property and we have never renewed the lease since.

The tenant pays rent regularly every month. However, I need the property now. How do I deal with the tenant in this situation? LS, Dubai

The first thing to understand is that as per the law, if there are no differences of opinions, no changes to the rental agreement or no communication between the parties, the rental contract automatically renews each year under the same terms and conditions as before.

Therefore, even though you both forgot to renew, the law states that you have a legal rental agreement.

With reference to you wanting to repossess the property, this can be done by giving the tenant 12 months’ written notice to vacate. This notification has to be sent either by registered mail or notary public.

The law states that this notice should be served upon expiry of the agreement. However, in most cases, judges at the Rental Dispute Settlement Committee allow the notice to be served at any time.

The reason for eviction has to be stated in the notice. It has to be one of the following four reasons:

  • If the property is for sale.
  • If the owner or their next of kin of first degree need to move into the property. The owner must, however, prove that they don’t own another suitable property that could be used instead.
  • For extensive maintenance where the tenant cannot reasonably live in the property while work is being carried out.
  • If the property is up for demolition.
The law states that the eviction notice should be served upon expiry of the agreement
Mario Volpi, sales and leasing manager at Engel & Volkers

For the last two points, the landlord has to obtain approvals from the authorities concerned.

Instead of waiting for 12 months to serve the eviction notice, you could try to negotiate an earlier release by perhaps offering the tenant some form of compensation.

In these situations, the outcome depends on your relationship with the tenant. If you both reach an agreement, there is no need to serve the 12-month eviction notice.

I am currently out of a job. I rent a one-bedroom apartment in Dubai and have been with the same landlord for three years. However, I am considering leaving the country in a few months.

I don’t want the hassle of moving out of this unit into a hotel apartment before I leave the UAE. Are landlords open to doing short-term rentals? Will the rate for these arrangements be above market rates?

How do I negotiate with my landlord to procure a good short-term rental deal? HJ, Dubai

I always try to highlight the importance of a good relationship with your landlord. As is the case with a business partnership, where there are two parties involved, it is crucial that each one feels valued by the other.

I cite this because you want to know how best to negotiate with your landlord about a short-term rental arrangement.

Only you know how your relationship with your landlord is. If it is strained or has been difficult, the likelihood is you will have trouble receiving a good short-term rental contract from the landlord.

However, if you have a good relationship with the property owner, I am sure you will find an amicable solution.

Short-term rentals attract a higher pro-rata value than a long-term rent contract, so ensure you are fair to your landlord when suggesting an amount.

In any case, always try to meet up face-to-face (if possible) with the landlord for these scenarios to have a better chance of succeeding.

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: February 24, 2022, 4:00 AM