UAE property: 'Can I negotiate the date of my eviction notice?'

The Dubai tenant's landlord has requested they move out of the flat as the property is being sold

Properties on The Palm Jumeirah. A Dubai tenant is seeking advice on an eviction notice after his landlord decided to sell the flat.
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I currently have a lease agreement in place for an apartment on Palm Jumeirah, which is valid from January 1, 2022, to December 31, 2022.

On March 30, the landlord provided me with a notary public-attested eviction notice. He said the reason for the eviction was to sell the property.

The date of eviction — my last day to occupy the premises — is April 1, 2023, thus 12 months from the date the eviction notice is dated.

As per the law, the 12-month eviction notice period can only start from the date of the expiry of the current lease, so I believe the final eviction date should be December 31, 2023.

However, I understand that in some cases, practice now overrules the law and the landlord could be within his rights regarding the current eviction notice date.

I have tried to negotiate a compromise with the landlord and requested a three-month extension to vacate the premises by the end of June 2023.

I have even proposed that I pay a 5 per cent rent increase despite the Real Estate Regulatory Agency's rental index not allowing a rise. He agreed to this initially but has now walked away from the agreement.

What would be your advice? Is it is worth filing a case with the Rental Dispute Settlement Committee (RDSC)?

I have tried to do this online but it seems to be extremely confusing. For example, am I a claimant or defendant? The system also asks for the property owner's bank details, which, naturally, I do not have. JS, Dubai

To clarify your point, Law no 33 of 2008 states that the 12-month eviction notice should be served to a tenant upon expiry of the lease, thus giving them one more renewal in the property before having to vacate.

That said, some judges at the RDSC have allowed the notice period to be served at any time.

The only way you will find out if this notice will be upheld or rejected by the presiding judge of the day is if you file a case. Therefore, as you say, it may be within the landlord's right to request your eviction on April 1, 2023.

You clearly have done all that you can to request a three-month extension but it would appear that this has been ignored.

My advice now would be to sit tight and actually do nothing. Let the property be sold and when a buyer is found, you can then potentially renegotiate with them to stay in the flat.

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Dubai property apartment prices — August 2022 — in pictures

If the new buyer is an investor, they actually cannot evict you and then re-let the property. However, if the new buyer wants to move into the property and you wish to contest your original eviction date, you can file a case at the RDSC because some judges may request that the new buyer sends you their own 12-month notice to vacate.

If this is the case, you should be able to remain in the property for a much longer time than was originally set.

I read your recent article regarding the late handover of a project and have a similar situation.

I booked an apartment in Dubai in 2015 and was given a completion date of 2019. However, to date, the developer has yet to complete the project and I have suffered financially as I have already paid the 70 per cent as per the sales and purchase agreement.

The 30 per cent balance is due on handover. Can you suggest how I can claim compensation from the developer and what is the best way forward for a person in my situation? MS, Dubai

Despite the fact that developers have a permissible buffer of a 12-month delay on their projects, further delays often take place due to a variety of reasons.

Given this, it is likely that with the allowed delay of 12 months, this particular project was most likely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Although I am not defending or making excuses for the developer, it is possible that because of the events of the past, the developer encountered a situation that obviously then translated into the handover delay you now face.

My advice is to try to communicate as much as possible with the developer directly to see if an agreement can be reached.

If you are not satisfied with any compensation that may be offered (or not), then your only other option would be to file a court case.

I would stress that you think about this very carefully because taking a developer to court is not an easy task and would take time, money and a great deal of effort, while the outcome is also not known.

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: September 15, 2022, 4:00 AM
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