UAE property: ‘Can I be evicted if I don’t agree to a rent increase?’

The landlord must ensure that the rent hike abides by the Rera calculator and a 90-day notice is served before the lease expiry

The landlord must send the tenant 12 months’ written notification of eviction via notary public or registered mail. Getty
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My rental contract is expiring in a couple of days and I have not come to an agreement with the landlord regarding next year’s rent.

The owner has proposed increasing the rent to Dh175,000, from Dh135,000.

He approached the Dubai Land Department to change the unit specification in the Ejari from a four-bedroom apartment to a five-bedroom penthouse with pool.

If I do not accept the rent increase and sign the new rental contract before the expiry of my current lease, can the landlord evict us?

Under what circumstances can the landlord serve an eviction notice?

If the landlord serves an eviction notice on the pretext of selling the apartment and fails to follow through, what compensation will the tenant be entitled to? CR, Dubai

Technically speaking, a rental contract renews under the same terms and conditions as before, unless otherwise agreed.

If the landlord’s new terms and/or conditions for the next renewal are allowed as per the law and in accordance with the Real Estate Regulatory Agency’s rental calculator, unfortunately, you have to abide by these changes or move out if you disagree.

This is on the condition that the landlord served the statutory 90-day notice from the expiry date of the tenancy agreement.

If he did not serve this notice period, the landlord is not entitled to make any changes to the rental contract.

The landlord can only serve an eviction notice if he wants to sell the property, move in himself or for his next of kin of first degree, if the unit requires extensive modernisation, which would make it impossible for the tenant to live there, or in the case of demolition.

In each of these cases, the landlord needs to send the tenant 12 months’ written notification of eviction via notary public or registered mail.

The landlord can alter the property and change it from a four-bedroom to a five-bedroom unit, but this needs physical changes within the unit, which would require approvals and certain procedures, such as altering the title deed at the DLD. This would take time and also attract fees.

The landlord can give you notice under the same terms as mentioned above.

For your last point, if the landlord claims to want the property for his own use or use of next of kin by first degree and you find out after moving out that the unit has been re-let, you can file a case at the Rental Dispute Settlement Committee (RDSC).

If you win the case, the compensation is equal to the annual rent you were paying.

Our landlord has sold the property we live in and the new owner wants to increase the rent by more than what is approved by the Rera rent calculator.

Our current rent is Dh80,000 and the increase approved by the Rera is Dh84,000. However, the new owner is asking for a rent between Dh90,000 and Dh95,000.

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Is the eviction notice served by the earlier landlord still valid post-sale?

Can the new owner decide not to allow us to renew and evict us in December to get a higher rent? AS, Dubai

With regards to the original eviction notice, my advice would be for you to file a case at the RDSC.

While the law in the UAE is not set on precedent, in the past, many judges at the RDSC have requested the new buyer to serve their own 12-month notice, especially if the reason for eviction is different to the first one.

A landlord cannot evict an existing tenant to then re-let the property for a higher rent.

If all of the above seems like a lot of hassle, I would suggest you come to an agreement with the new landlord regarding the new rental amount.

So, if Dh84,000 is the permissible amount by law, you could offer a few thousand more. This shows willingness on your part to go above and beyond what is allowed by law.

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In negotiations and business relationships, it’s all about a win-win scenario. If both parties don’t get exactly what they want, it is more likely that an agreement is reached.

You will need to weigh up the time, money and effort involved in potentially moving out over the increase in rent during renewal.

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 24, 2022, 4:00 AM
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