UAE Property: ‘Can a landlord refuse to renew a lease for missed rent payments?'

A property owner cannot refuse to renew the tenancy contract even when there are issues to tackle

It is important for landlords and tenants to try to resolve their issues amicably. Getty
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Question: I failed to pay two payments for my house rent and was issued an eviction notice by the landlord.

I requested extra time to make the payments and managed to clear all pending arrears. During this time, my tenancy contract expired.

My landlord is now refusing to disregard the eviction notice and renew my lease.

I am even willing to pay my rent in one cheque. Is there any way I can solve the problem? HP, Dubai

Answer: A landlord cannot refuse to renew the lease even when there are issues to tackle.

It is important to try to resolve these issues amicably where possible.

If diplomatic, face-to-face discussions fail to convince the landlord, in terms of finding a mutually agreeable decision that enables you to continue with the lease, all you have to do is issue your rent cheque(s) to the Dubai Land Department (DLD).

The DLD will then contact the owner to request them to collect the cheques in person.

In theory, your contract automatically renews under the same terms and conditions as before, so use this information to write out the amount on the cheque(s).

The last resort would be to file a case at the Rental Dispute Settlement Committee, where you will be able to put your side of the story forward in the hope that the judge rules in your favour.

Q: I recently purchased a property in Dubai, which was rented out and the tenant had six months remaining on the lease.

I served a 12-month eviction notice to the tenant through notary public, citing “personal use” of the property.

Later, I was told by my employer that I might be moving to another country. How can I convey this news to the DLD?

Also, what options are available to demand rent according to market rates upon lease renewal or let it to a new tenant? PJ, Dubai

A: If you have already sent the notarised eviction notice to your tenant to vacate, you should inform them that your circumstances have changed and they no longer have to move out of the property.

If you evict a tenant for the reason stated, then you cannot re-let the property again for a period of two years.

Therefore, it is better to carry on with the lease. You are not allowed to evict a tenant to then offer it for rent again to someone else.

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With reference to your second point, you can only change the contract if you give at least 90 days’ notice of the same. This would include any increase allowed as per the Real Estate Regulatory Agency’s rental calculator.

I would suggest that you try to resolve any disagreements or difference of opinion with your tenant during a face-to-face meeting.

I also request tenants to come to a mutually agreeable position with the landlord. This may mean going above and beyond what the Rera rent calculator states to maintain fair play.

Rents have been rising rapidly this year and the Rera rent calculator has not kept up with these increases.

So, common sense should prevail when trying to negotiate with all parties involved.

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: December 15, 2022, 4:00 AM