Question: When I purchased a property in Dubai, the real estate broker promised me that the tenant would vacate the house by June 23.
The previous owner had served the tenant with a notice to vacate. But after I bought the property, the tenant now says he is not willing to vacate.
I purchased the house for my personal use, yet am unable to get the tenant to vacate or pay rent that matches the market rate at renewal.
Please suggest a way forward. SD, Dubai
Answer: When a landlord wishes to sell, it is common for him or her to send a 12-month notice to vacate to an existing tenant.
Given you are an end-user, you will have to arrange with the tenant the date of vacating the property.
If, as in your case, the tenant is reluctant to vacate, they will have to file a case at the Rental Dispute Settlement Committee (RDSC).
However, I wish to point out that in some cases, the judges do find in favour of the tenant by requesting that the buyer send their own 12-month notice to gain vacant possession.
I realise this is not what you may want to hear. However, the only way to guarantee the tenant vacates is to send your own notice as quickly as possible.
Your alternative is to agree on a compensation package for the tenant if you want him out much sooner.
With reference to quoting market rent at renewal, this figure will not be allowed because this rate refers to vacant unit prices, not units with an existing tenant.
For this, you will have to consult the Real Estate Regulator Agency’s rental calculator, which will inform you of what increase in rent, if any, you can apply.
Any changes to the contract need to be in writing, giving 90 days’ notice from the date of renewal.
If this window is missed, you will not be able to change any existing terms and conditions, including a rent increase.
Q: Can I change the terms of the tenancy contract — that is, increase the rent and change the number of cheques from 12 to one — 90 days before the expiry of the lease?
I cannot raise the rent on my property, according to the Rera index. However, the index does not take into consideration that my property has been upgraded and is furnished.
Looking at comparable units in the market that are furnished, of similar size and view, they are charging 35 per cent more rent than what my current tenant is paying.
If the tenant refuses the new terms, what are my rights? BM, Dubai
A: In terms of changing the existing rental contract, you are at liberty to alter what you like.
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If the tenant does not agree to the new terms and refuses to move out, he will have to file a case at the RDSC stating that, in his opinion, your demands are unreasonable.
Going from 12 rent cheques to one could be deemed unreasonable and seen as a tactic to remove the tenant, so I would be careful.
When it comes to rental increases, a landlord can only increase the rent if the Rera rental calculator states this is allowed.
Any rental increases agreed have to be mutually agreed on and could go above and beyond what the law states. It is only when there is a dispute or a difference of opinion that the law is used as the guide.
Requesting vacant apartment rents (or current market rates) is not really acceptable as these can only be used for vacant properties, not when there is an existing tenant in situ.
I understand that the current rental calculator is fairly rudimentary and does not take into consideration upgrades. However, presumably when you first rented out the property, these factors were taken into account.
You have to come to mutual terms with the tenant concerning renewal, but remember to stay within the confines or guidelines of the law.
Mario Volpi is the sales director at AX Capital. He has worked in the property sector for 39 years, in London and Dubai. The opinions expressed do not constitute legal advice and are provided for information only. Please send any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org