UAE property: 'Can I be evicted without official notification?'

Landlords are legally required to give Dubai tenants 12 months' notice to vacate a property through public notary

A Dubai tenant has been asked to leave his Dubai property without official notice. Alamy
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My tenancy agreement ends on May 26, 2022. Last November, my landlord orally mentioned that he intended to move into the property when I vacated it.

I took this to mean when we decide to move out. But in February, when I gave him written notice of our intention to renew the tenancy agreement, he wrote back asking us to move out by May 26.

The landlord is aware that he should have served a notary public but instead of doing this, he continues to send me emails and text messages telling me to move out.

Can you advise me on what I should do concerning my rental agreement — do I take this to the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) so that the lease is renewed? JL, Dubai

Despite the landlord's wish for you to vacate the property at the end of your tenancy agreement, moving out on May 26 can only happen if you decide to leave.

The landlord is entitled to gain possession of his/her own property but would have to send you written notice either by notary public or registered mail requesting that you move out. They must also include the reason for eviction and give you 12 months’s notice.

The only permissible reasons for evictions are:

  1. If the landlord wishes to sell the property
  2. If he wishes to move in for own use or use of next of kin of first degree. The landlord would also have to prove he/she doesn’t have any other alternative properties that could be used instead
  3. If the property requires extensive modernisation that prevents the tenant from living in the property while the work is being carried out
  4. For the reason of demolition

For the last two reasons, written permits and approvals would also be required.

If your landlord continues to request that you move out, you should inform him that you will file a case at the Rental Dispute Settlement Committee (RDSC).

You have every right to renew under the terms of the information you have given. I suggest your landlord renews with you for one more year and then serves you the 12-month notice so that he/she can gain possession of the property in May 2023.

The landlord cannot (as some believe) give you notice to leave and then re-let the property at a higher rent to someone else. This is not allowed.

In the event you do move out and subsequently find that the landlord has let the property to someone else, you would then be entitled to compensation through the RDSC.

I rent an apartment in Dubai and wish to redecorate it. Am I allowed to paint the walls in a different colour, or do I need the landlord’s permission to do this?

When I vacate the unit next year, am I required to paint the walls in the original colour? If I don’t, will the landlord deduct the cost from my refundable security deposit? HK, Dubai

When renting a property for the first time, the landlord is responsible for handing over a freshly painted unit that is also clean and tidy.

Your obligation is to return the property, when the tenancy contract is finished, in the same condition as it was given.

Before redecorating the property, you will have to seek permission from the landlord before you proceed.

In theory, you should repaint the property in the original colour when you leave.

I say in theory because if the landlord is happy to keep it as to your choice, then no need to repaint again (assuming all is in order). But, if the landlord doesn’t like the colour, you would need to repaint it.

If you do not do this, the landlord can deduct the cost of repainting from your deposit.

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: April 21, 2022, 4:00 AM
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