UAE property: ‘Should I tell my landlord that I don’t plan to renew my lease?’

The tenant is not legally required to inform the landlord unless specifically mentioned in the tenancy contract

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My tenancy contract expires soon and I wish to upgrade to a bigger apartment in the same area.

I informed the landlord’s real estate company by email more than a month before the expiry of the lease that I would not renew the contract.

Although a clause in the tenancy contract states that I have to inform the landlord 90 days before the expiry of the lease, I could provide only 35 days’ notice.

I haven’t received a response from the landlord yet. I spoke to one of his employees who acts on his behalf. I was told that my landlord’s daughter, who manages his properties, refused to accept my notice.

Although I am willing to pay the Real Estate Regulatory Agency’s fine or penalty for not providing the 90 days’ notice, my landlord’s agent refuses to accept it.

I have stayed in this apartment for the past 12 years and always paid rent on time. However, I am unable to elicit a favourable response from the landlord. Please help. RV, Dubai

It is not necessary to inform the landlord about non-renewal of the tenancy agreement because the contract has a start and end date, according to law 33 of 2008.

However, it is always advisable to inform the landlord because he/she will be expecting the notice and if you don't give it, you could have a situation on your hands.

Ninety days’ notice is required only if alterations are made to the existing contract, for example, any increase or decrease in the rental amount.

However, since your contract has a 90-day notice clause, you should abide by it as you signed the document and agreed to the terms contained therein.

Since you failed to serve the contract’s full 90-day notice, there will be some form of penalty. Breaking a contract normally incurs a penalty of one month’s rent or, in some cases, this can also be two months’ rent.

As you served only one month’s notice instead of the required three, perhaps you can offer two months’ worth of rent as compensation to the owner.

The landlord cannot hold you to another renewal against your wish. If you cannot arrive at a mutual agreement with the landlord, file a case at the Rental Dispute Settlement Committee in Dubai.

Since you are willing to pay a penalty, the judge may decide on the matter by agreeing on a compensation amount and potentially release you from the tenancy.

I have been living in a rented apartment in Dubai since last year. Four months before contract expiry, I informed the landlord of my plans to renew the lease and asked for the renewal rent.

After repeated messages, my landlord revealed that he plans to sell the property. Since the new buyer is an investor, my landlord said I did not need to vacate the apartment.

However, in the month of May, my landlord informed me that the buyer wants to stay in the apartment and offered me an extra 15 days of occupancy if I paid rent for that period.

I was reminded of the rule that requires landlords to serve 12 months’ notice if they want the tenant to vacate for the reason of selling the property.

Although I conveyed this rule to the landlord, he did not respond. Later, his legal adviser called me and said the new buyer wants to discuss this matter with me.

Can the new buyer increase the rent, although I haven’t received the mandatory 90-day notice for a rent increase? MD, Dubai

If the new owner wants to use the property themselves or for their next of kin of first degree, they must send you a written request of the same via notary public or registered mail, giving you 12 months’ notice to vacate.

This notice should be sent to you upon expiry of your tenancy agreement, although some judges at the RDSC allow this notice to be served at any time.

All the terms and conditions of your contract will remain the same as before because neither the new buyer nor your previous landlord gave you the statutory 90-day notice from the renewal date to change the contract.

Therefore, your renewal should go ahead smoothly with the same terms and conditions as before, including the rental amount.

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: August 11, 2022, 5:09 AM
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