UAE property: ‘Can a landlord ask a tenant to move out on a day’s notice?’

Owner of a short-term apartment rental wants occupant to move out immediately after finding a tenant who is willing to pay higher rent

Landlords need to be reasonable and offer tenants sufficient notice before asking them to vacate a property. Alamy
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

My 22-year-old son is a resident in Dubai and recently rented an apartment short-term from an agency from September 1 until November 30.

He signed a rental agreement, submitted documents and paid the required deposit.

On October 31, he received a notice to vacate with immediate effect as the landlord found a tenant who was willing to pay a higher rent.

My son said that he would move out of the property as per the contract terms at the end of November.

However, the estate agent said the landlord had never signed the rental agreement and therefore it is void. He insisted that my son move out immediately.

I understand that the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) regulations do not apply to holiday home rentals. But it seems very unfair to expect my son to move out on a day’s notice.

Do you have any information on a matter like this? HS, Dubai

There are three points to consider here. The first is the fact that the landlord did not sign his part of the contract. As such, the agent is correct that technically the contract is void because two or more people need to sign for an agreement to be enforceable.

The second part is that your son needs someone, either him or the agent, to ask the landlord to be reasonable about giving a bit of notice to vacate.

I agree that one day’s notice is ridiculous, so the landlord needs to change his stance and offer your son at least one week’s notice, if not the full 30 days, which will take you to the end of November.

This would be reasonable, but given that the landlord has not signed the contract, I’m sure he feels invincible, so can appear to throw his weight around to get his way.

I would question the agent on why the landlord did not sign his part of the contract. It is the agent’s responsibility to finalise the paperwork.

Presumably your son has also paid until the end of November, so the rent would have to be refunded to him if the landlord does not agree.

If this is the case, I believe it will be very hard for the landlord to affect your son’s eviction as quickly as he wants.

My advice would be to try to stick to the end of the month before vacating or at least request a reasonable time to find another suitable unit and get the rent refunded, too.

The last point to consider is that the Dubai rental laws pertain to long-term rentals only, so you have to find a solution with the landlord directly in order to close this chapter.

A new owner purchased the apartment we currently live in on August 8 and informed us of her intent to immediately flip the property for a profit.

We have had several viewings since then. The apartment is listed on a few websites, so we are fully aware she is selling.

Is the eviction notice from the previous landlord still effective? He served notice in July before selling the property.

____________

The most expensive villa sold in Dubai — in pictures

Also, the new landlord recently told us that she now wants to move in to the property and has made a cash offer for us to move out immediately. We’re likely to reject it because it’s a very low amount.

She claims to have sold her primary residence and says she has nowhere to live, but we know this to be false as she owns many properties.

How do we deal with this situation? MF, Dubai

The previous eviction notice is still in effect. This is until you call it into question.

To do this, you will need to file a case at the Rent Dispute Settlement Committee (RDSC) stating your reasons.

It is normal for a new owner who requests vacant possession to make an offer to the existing tenant to vacate, but as you have mentioned, this offer was not to your liking.

Therefore, the negotiations should continue. If the new landlord wants to move in themselves, this is normal, but they must prove that they do not own another suitable alternative property that could be used instead.

So, if you say that she owns other units, this goes against the spirit of the law for wanting you out falsely.

I would focus on this point to press home the need for correctness in this matter.

I suggest you organise a meeting with the new owner to explain your situation and to explain what is allowed in law.

If all else fails, you may have no alternative but to seek redress by filing a case at the RDSC.

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: November 10, 2022, 4:00 AM
NEWSLETTERS
MORE FROM THE NATIONAL