UAE property: ‘Can a landlord serve an eviction notice before a lease expires?'

The owner must serve it at the end of the lease and also prove they do not own another property that could be used instead

Eviction notice being delivered. Getty Images
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I live in a villa in Dubai and the owner sold the property during the seventh month of my lease.

The new owner wants to take possession of the villa to live in it with his family. He sent me a notarised eviction notice to vacate the property within 12 months.

As stated in your previous columns for The National, the 12 months’ notice to evict a tenant should be served upon expiry of the preceding tenancy agreement, according to Law 26 of 2007 and the amended Law 33 of 2008, which govern the relationships between landlords and tenants.

My understanding is that a tenant should receive the eviction notice at the same time they are given a copy of the new rental contract.

You also mention that some judges at the Rental Dispute Settlement Committee (RDSC) are allowing this notice to be served at any time. What does the law say? What are my rights as a tenant? I want to stay in my current villa as long as possible. DA, Dubai

The law is clear as to when an eviction notice ought to be served, but what has happened is that with time, changes appear based on the judge’s decisions at the RDSC.

In your case, the new owner will have to extend your current tenancy contract at the point of its renewal because there is a further five months to go before the 12-month notification is up.

When an owner gives notice for use of the property himself or his next of kin of first degree, they must prove an additional detail. They must state that they do not own another property that could be used instead.

Therefore, contact your current owner to request confirmation of the same. You can also check this at the Dubai Land Department (DLD) for clarification.

If the landlord owns another property, you can call into question your eviction notice. However, if the new landlord does not own other suitable properties, you will have to vacate the villa at the end of the 12 months’ notice.

I live in Dubai and received a renewal notice from my landlord asking for a 54 per cent rent increase.

The landlord has based the rent increase on a rental valuation certificate from the DLD. Is this legally valid? CN, Dubai

Unfortunately, there appears to be no further information since I wrote a previous column on this topic.

The DLD’s paid valuation quotes a correct figure but my understanding is that it focuses on a vacant property rather than the valuation of rent from an existing tenancy agreement.

There is a large gap between a vacant unit’s rental valuation and one when a tenant is in situ. This is born out of the protection offered to tenants by the Real Estate Regulatory Agency’s rental calculator.

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In some cases, landlords who availed of the DLD’s valuation service received a higher rent from their tenant, but only because the latter now understand that they need to move to a closer point towards their landlord’s view rather than what the law states.

Landlords use these valuations as a bargaining tool and guide to potentially show their existing tenants that they might be paying below-market rent.

These valuations are not yet used to rubber-stamp the value quoted. You still have the right to contest it via the RDSC. However, the outcome will be decided by a single judge.

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

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Updated: October 13, 2022, 4:00 AM
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