UAE Property: ‘Can my landlord decide how much to raise the rent?’

The market value of properties with an existing tenant is protected by the law to stop landlords from quoting rents of their choosing

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‘Can my landlord decide the amount of rental increase defying Rera advice?’

Question: I rent a one-bedroom apartment in Dubai and pay Dh46,000 annually. My lease expires on February 19.

The landlord is asking for a higher rent of Dh56,000 at lease renewal. However, the Real Estate Regulatory Agency’s rent calculator states that I need to pay a rent increase of only Dh2,300.

The landlord is defiant and wants me to vacate the property as he claims to be receiving many inquiries from people interested in leasing the property for a higher rent.

Initially, he demanded a rent of Dh65,000 but later reduced it to Dh56,000. However, I am ready to pay only Dh4,000 more, which makes the annual rent Dh50,000.

He sent me an email on January 7 informing me of the rent increase. But this was only a 42-day notice before lease expiry, not the 90 days as stipulated by the rental contract.

The real estate agent messaged me on November 12 about the owner planning to increase the rent to Dh55,000. I did not agree and asked her to send me an email instead.

Can the landlord call the police and ask me to vacate the property? Or should I file a case to resolve this issue? KV, Dubai

Answer: Your dilemma is not unusual and is born out of frustration landlords are feeling when they have an existing tenant.

What landlords have to understand is that there is not one unified rental market but two.

The first is the current market value, which takes into consideration the rent for vacant properties.

The second rental market value is for properties with an existing tenant. This market is protected by the law to stop landlords from quoting rents of their choosing.

Unfortunately, some landlords are not aware of this and get angry because they feel they are missing out on higher rents.

The reality is that when a property is rented, the landlord has a duty of care to the tenant. This responsibility comes with situations and expenses that the landlord is occasionally not happy to comply with, but is perfectly legal and within Dubai's rental laws.

In your case, if your landlord doesn’t want to listen to you and just pushes his agenda, you will have no alternative but to file a case at the Rental Dispute Settlement Committee.

Filing a case may seem time-consuming or a hassle you can do without, but the alternative is going to cost you even more.

Q: I read about a new law on bounced cheques in the UAE, which decriminalises tenant cheques that are returned due to insufficient funds.

Is this law more beneficial for tenants than landlords?

In case a tenant’s cheque bounces, what are the options for landlords to a) obtain rent payments, and b) evict the tenant for not having paid the rent? MH, Dubai


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A: As with all situations involving non-payment of rent, the tenant would have breached the lease agreement. So, your only recourse is to rectify the situation legally by requesting the owed amount within 30 days.

This notice has to be sent in writing, so it is best to have it notarised and sent via registered mail.

If the tenant does not comply within the 30-day period, you have the right to evict them by filing a case at the RDSC in Deira, Dubai.

You can file a case straight away but the RDSC will ask you to serve the 30-day notice anyway, so it is better to do this first and file a case if needed.

Mario Volpi 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: February 09, 2023, 4:00 AM