UAE property: ‘Can my landlord refuse to renew the lease after I declined his offer?’

The tenant initially rejected the owner’s offer but now wishes to stay after a change in circumstances

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Question: My landlord sent me an email in November, three months before the expiry of my tenancy contract, offering to renew the lease for a year with a 10 per cent increase in rent.

At that time, I declined the offer to renew the lease because I had some other plans and communicated this to my landlord via email.

It has been about 40 days since I declined his offer.

However, due to a change in circumstances, I now want to continue living in the apartment and would be happy to accept the new rent.

I reached out to the landlord but he is ignoring my messages.

Can the landlord deny my request because I had earlier declined to renew the lease? What does the law say in this situation? VP, Dubai

Answer: Technically, a tenant does not have to inform the landlord when not renewing. This is because the contract has a start and end date.

Having said this, it is good practice to inform your landlord of your situation so he or she can organise themselves whether they need to re-let the property or not.

The law is silent when it comes to your dilemma and it is up to the parties to communicate between themselves and this includes when circumstances change.

Given that you are still within your tenancy, it is your right to renew again.

However, I would be a little more flexible when it comes to deciding on the rent (beyond what the Real Estate Regulatory Agency’s calculator states). I say this simply to show willingness due to your change of heart.

If the landlord continues to ghost you, I would prepare the renewal through your agent and lodge this along with the rental cheques at the Dubai Land Department. They will get in touch with the landlord going forward.

Alternatively, you can always file a case at the Rent Dispute Settlement Committee. However, this will cost you 3.5 per cent of the rental amount.

Q: My landlord is asking for a 54 per cent increase in rent, although the Rera calculator shows no increase is allowed for the community I live in.

Trying to reach a compromise and seem reasonable, I reached out to him and offered to pay a 5 per cent increase in rent instead.

A week has passed, but the landlord has not replied to my offer yet.

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I was about to approach the RDSC and file a case. However, a friend suggested that I first file an offer and deposit petition before the DLD to demonstrate my intent to renew the contract and pay the rent.

Is there an advantage in doing this? When you file a case with the RDSC, I believe you have to do this anyway. So, is it worth making the extra effort? CN, Dubai

A: Giving your rental cheques to the DLD is a good option before lodging a formal complaint with the RDSC.

The DLD will contact the landlord to request him to collect the rental cheques from them.

Involving the DLD will ensure you give your case the respect and seriousness it deserves.

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

Updated: January 05, 2023, 4:00 AM