UAE property: ‘Can my new landlord increase the rent before the current lease ends?’

A new buyer takes over a rental contract for the entire duration of the lease and cannot arbitrarily amend terms

Ninety days before the expiration of the contract is when notification of any changes should be agreed on for the next renewal. Getty
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Six months before the expiry of my tenancy contract, I received a notarised eviction notice from my landlord, which cited his intention to sell the property as the reason.

The owner had sold the property before the expiry of the contract and he verbally told me that since the buyer was an investor, nothing would change in my tenancy contract.

However, the new owner now wants me to renew the contract for six months only and at a higher rent, according to the Real Estate Regulatory Authority’s (Rera) rent calculator.

Can the new owner use the previous eviction notice that was served, listing an intention to sell the property? I believe the eviction notice is no longer valid because the new owner wants to move into the property.

The new landlord could rent the property to other tenants after evicting me.

Although the Rera and Rental Dispute Settlement Committee (RDSC) responded to my emails about this matter, it does not constitute legal advice. Could you please advise? CS, Dubai

The new buyer takes over your rental contract for the entire duration of the lease (in this case, six months). Therefore, there is no need for a new contract.

The new landlord is not entitled to any rent increase for the next six months because he takes over the existing 12-month contract.

Ninety days before the expiration date is when notification of any changes should be agreed on for the next renewal. If this window is missed, then the same terms and conditions apply for the renewal.

If the new landlord wishes to move in himself or his next of kin of first degree, then he has to send you a separate 12 months’ written eviction notice, citing this reason.

This notice of eviction cannot be verbal, in an email or any other form other than by notary public or registered mail. These two means of communication are the only legal ways of informing you of the same.

The new landlord cannot cite personal use as the reason for eviction and then re-let the property. He cannot re-let the property for two years after your eviction and if he does, you would be entitled to compensation.

We bought a property in September 2021. The person we purchased the property from wanted to stay in the unit for a few more months, for which we made a tenancy contract from September 2021 until June 2022.

In April this year, he informed us that he wanted to stay longer in the property.

We decided to serve him with a 12 months’ eviction notice, which will allow him to stay in the property until April 2023.

However, we now need to make another tenancy contract from June 2022 till April 2023. Will the new tenancy contract supersede the eviction letter?

How can I make sure the tenant will leave the property by April 2023 as per the eviction notice? BS, Dubai

The new contract from June 2022 to April 2023 will not supersede the eviction notice that you sent.

I assume that you sent the 12 months’ eviction notice via notary public or registered mail, stating the reason as your own use. If it was not sent this way, your notice to vacate is not legal.

The only way you can guarantee that the tenant vacates at the end of the 12-month notice would be for him to send you an additional written notification that he will move out by the date in April 2023.

This notice will only add weight if it is notarised. A written notice that is not notarised is not sufficient.

If the tenant sends you a notarised written notification and then stays beyond the April 2023 date, you can file a case at the RDSC in Deira, which will proceed to evict the tenant.

My current landlord served me with a one-year eviction notice when I renewed my tenancy in November last year as he was selling the property.

The property has now been sold. Do the new owners also have to serve me with an eviction notice or does the current one stand? Do I have to vacate in November? BA, Dubai

Dubai rents in Q2 2022 — in pictures

Technically speaking, the initial notice to vacate for reason of sale stands.

However, if you wish to contest this, you can file a case with the RDSC. In some cases, judges at the RDSC have requested that the new buyer also send their own 12 months’ notice to vacate for the reason of moving in themselves.

If the new buyer is an investor, they cannot evict you to re-let the property.

If you do not agree to vacate in November, file a case stating your reasons for remaining in the property and wait for the judge to decide.

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 18, 2022, 4:00 AM
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