UAE property: ‘Can a landlord increase rent more than 90 days before renewal date?’

It is ideal to finalise the new rent amount closer to the date of lease renewal

If a property is for sale, the tenant can be asked to leave only after the owner gives them a 12-month notice to vacate. Bloomberg
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My landlord notified me about a rent increase via email on March 1, 2022. I currently pay annual rent of Dh132,000 and the landlord plans to increase this to Dh152,000 at the next renewal.

However, my tenancy contract is up for renewal only on July 1, 2022. Therefore, this notification to increase my rent by 15 per cent is before the mandatory 90-day notice stipulated for the landlord.

In February, the owner also did a few viewings for a potential sale. He has a potential buyer who is awaiting a bank evaluation of the property.

The Real Estate Regulatory Agency told me that the rent increase is in line with the Dubai rental index. However, the agency said it is too early to ask for a rent increase.

How do I deal with this situation? MB, Dubai

Any changes to an existing rental contract have to be communicated to the concerned parties, giving at least 90 days’ notice from the date of renewal.

With reference to the notice you received with more than the 90-day notice, you can do one of two things:

  1. Accept the changes now and confirm that these are the new agreed terms and stick to them at the time of renewal
  2. Agree that there will be changes to the rent, but finalise the amount closer to the date of renewal. Either way, any or all of the changes will only come into effect at the time of renewal, not before.
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Any alterations to an existing rental contract has to be communicated to the concerned parties, giving at least 90 days’ notice from the date of renewal
Mario Volpi, sales and leasing manager at Engel & Volkers

I am, however, not clear about the landlord’s intention. Is the property for sale? If so, you are entitled to live there and can be asked to leave only after the owner gives you 12 month' notice to vacate. This notice must be sent to you either via notary public or registered mail.

I recently purchased a property. The previous owner had given the current tenant notice to vacate due to sale of the property. The current rent contract ends on June 8.

The title deed was transferred to my name on March 15. I was under the impression that the property was vacant.

Is the tenant compelled to leave at the end of their contract or do I need to serve another 12-month notice period, even if I need to move in? DD, Dubai

Despite the previous owner serving the 12 months’ notice, if the tenant wants to dispute this and file a case at the Rental Dispute Settlement Committee, judges have sometimes requested the new owner to serve a separate 12-month eviction notice.

Speak to the tenant to understand what their intentions are about vacating the property. If they will vacate easily, then all is well.

If not, try to negotiate with them to avoid any unnecessary delays or complications. If all steps fail, you will most likely have to serve your own 12 months’ notice.

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: March 31, 2022, 4:00 AM
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