UAE Property: ‘Can my landlord rent out a flat after evicting us?’

The eviction notice said the owner intends to live in the property

A tenant can question the landlord on how their reason for eviction does not match their actions. Alamy
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Our landlord served us a one-year eviction notice in May 2021. We renewed our lease on this unit for one more year until June 6, 2022.

In the meantime, we also purchased a property. We are currently renovating it and intend to move in by the end of July.

We asked our landlord to extend the lease by a short term. He refused, saying that he wants to lease the unit to other people at double the price because rents have increased.

In the eviction notice, he mentioned that he intends to live in this property. Can he re-let the apartment instead? Can we take him to court? PJ, Dubai

You need to negotiate your lease extension and request the landlord to be reasonable in his approach. After the tenancy contract ends, the landlord could demand any amount for the extra month's rent.

It’s true that a vacant property can achieve a higher rent, but I’m sure he could be flexible because you are only requesting an extra month of occupancy.

Taking him to court will be costly and time-consuming, especially considering the relatively small amount in dispute compared with all the costs involved.

It will be a better option to discuss the pros and cons directly with the landlord and cite how his reason for eviction does not match his intentions. Often, pushing in this direction by threatening about future consequences may lead to an agreement in your favour.

One of my friends rents out her apartment as smaller partitioned units. She suggested that I could rent a portion of the apartment for about Dh20,000. I accepted her offer because it sounded reasonable and paid her in instalments.

Now, she is threatening me with non-renewal of the lease if I do not pay her a higher rent.

I also found out that the apartment is not under her name. Instead, her husband’s relative owns it. Can I report her to the police and file a case against her? KU, Dubai

Does the apartment in question have an Ejari contract registered? If not, the tenant’s rights are not protected, so technically you will be at the owner’s mercy when it comes to what rent they want at renewal.

I suggest you try to compromise with her to agree on a mutually acceptable amount. If you do not agree on a reasonable sum, you can simply vacate the unit.

When the contract is not registered, it is not protected. You can try to file a case at the Rental Dispute Settlement Committee, but I cannot discuss a likely outcome because of the circumstances.

The police will not help in this case. It’s better to reason with her and try to go for a win-win scenario, but as rents have increased during the past year, you should be looking at paying a little more than your previous contract.

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: May 26, 2022, 4:00 AM
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