UAE property: ‘Can my tenant demand an extension on his eviction?'

If the landlord sends the 12 months’ notice to vacate by registered mail or notary public, they are legally entitled to take possession of the property

If a tenant does not vacate a property after the eviction notice is served, the landlord can file a case at the Rental Dispute Settlement Committee in Dubai. Alamy
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We bought a property last year and sent an eviction notice to the tenant. His tenancy contract ends on May 2, but he has asked for a 10-day extension.

However, this is impossible as we need to renovate the place and move in as soon as possible.

The tenant is now ignoring our calls. How do we ensure he leaves the property on May 2? Do we get the police involved or does the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) do the eviction? FN, Dubai

I assume you sent the tenant the statutory 12 months’ notice to vacate by registered mail or notary public for the reason of moving in yourself.

This being the case, you are in your right to take possession of the property from the date observed. But before any surprises can arise, I suggest you visit the property to speak directly with the tenant.

Ignoring your calls can only work for so long. I realise that confronting the tenant at the doorstep may seem a bit aggressive or possibly be an invasion of his privacy, but the lack of communication is common and needs to be resolved.

Failing all, you can send the tenant a final 30-day eviction notice. If he still does not vacate the premises, you can file a case at the Rental Dispute Settlement Committee (RDSC), which will then advise about the next steps.

I moved into an apartment about a year ago. My tenancy contract expires at the end of the month. Two weeks ago, I contacted my landlord to renew the rental contract since I had not heard from him.

When he demanded a rent increase, I told him he had to give me 90 days’ notice. He said if I wasn’t willing to pay a higher rent, he would serve me an eviction notice.

The Rera indicates a rent increase of 15 per cent in the area I live in. I would have accepted the rent hike if the landlord had served the 90 days’ notice. Since I don’t want to leave this apartment, what do you recommend I do?

If I accept the 15 per cent rent increase, what is the guarantee that the landlord will not serve me an eviction notice? Could I request to add a non-eviction clause in the new contract?

As per the law, the landlord can serve us with a 12-month eviction notice only if he wants to sell the unit and when the contract ends. However, in your previous columns for The National, you mention it’s up to the judge to decide in such matters.

If we refuse the rent increase and receive an eviction notice, can my landlord take us to court despite not serving the 90-day notice? Or, can we renew at the same price although the Rera indicates a 15 per cent increase? DH, Dubai

The law is clear that when changing clauses in a rental contract, 90 days’ notice has to be given for these changes to take effect and the request must be put in writing.

Since your landlord has failed to inform you of the rent increase, which is a change from your current contract, then technically no increase is allowed.

As stated, the law is clear but living in rented accommodation is all about having a good relationship with your landlord.

Despite the 90-day notice period elapsing, you have the choice of accepting your landlord’s increase in rent.

I think your suggestion of including a “no eviction” clause for the next contract is a wise move, but it could be difficult to uphold if the landlord’s circumstances change.

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If you do not have a good relationship with your landlord, you must do what’s best for you in the long run.

If you refuse the rent increase and he files a case at the RDSC, the judge will surely not accept his case as the law is clear about when changes to an existing contract can take place.

There are many permutations to your situation but as per the law, no increase is allowed. Therefore, the contract has to remain with the same terms and conditions as last year.

If he wants to evict you, he can send the 12 months’ notice stating the reason. However, based on past examples, some judges will allow the notice to be served at any time other than at the point of lease renewal.

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 28, 2022, 4:00 AM
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