UAE property: ‘Can I refuse to sign my lease after moving into the unit?’

The tenant was able to move into the property after the management company issued an Ejari

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Question: Two months ago, I rented a new apartment. The unit is owned by a management company, unlike the single owner I dealt with for the previous apartment I rented.

I handed over the rent cheques to the company and they issued the Ejari, although I did not sign a tenancy contract. I paid my rent in one cheque.

They claimed that since they are a management company, they have the authority to issue an Ejari without a tenancy agreement.

They handed over the apartment key, so I didn’t mind because I had my Ejari and could, therefore, move in without problems.

After a month, the company gave me the tenancy agreement to sign. The issue is that I don’t agree with all of the clauses stated in it.

My concern is if I do not sign the contract, will I be evicted or can they refuse to renew for the next year? SB, Dubai

Answer: I am aware that managing companies do have certain privileges and different ways of doing things, but they will need an agreed tenancy contract that is linked with the Ejari.

However, I’ve never heard of a tenant moving into a property and then receiving the rental contract.

In your case, everything seemed to have happened quite quickly and you moved in before the tenancy contract was presented to you.

The contract will definitely have rules and regulations or clauses attached to it that need to be agreed upon by all parties.

You do have the right to disagree with the contract terms, even if you are already residing in the property.

My advice would be to discuss these clauses face-to-face with the company to reach a mutual agreement.

I’m certain that this can be achieved without too many problems.

Ultimately, if you do not agree, you can both mutually decide to cancel the contract. You can then move to another property after receiving your unused rental money and deposit.

Q: In one of your earlier columns, you said that the Real Estate Regulatory Agency’s rental index in Dubai might be dropped in favour of a building valuation model. Has there been any development in this regard?

Separately, how does the Rental Dispute Settlement Committee in Dubai treat cases of landlords who issue eviction letters to tenants and then decide to re-rent, perhaps after a period of having the property on the market?

Is there compensation payable to the tenant? If so, what is the range of compensation? PC, Dubai

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A: As of now, no date has been determined as a starting point for this new rating system.

I know that it is being developed, but I suspect it needs further work before it is introduced.

The law is clear as to what is allowed when evicting tenants, but every case that is brought to the RDSC is heard individually with all the merits taken into consideration by the presiding judge of the day.

Each case is different, so it is very difficult to comment on what the tribunal will award as compensation.

It has been shown that some judges have awarded the year’s rent, but this is not set in stone.

Q: I recently purchased an apartment. I am dealing with a tenant who refuses to vacate the property based on the claim that the eviction notice served by the previous landlord gets invalidated after property purchases. Is this correct? ED, Dubai

A: Some judges at the RDSC request a new buyer who wishes to move in himself to serve a new 12-month notice because a different reason for eviction is now in play.

I realise you may think this is a moot point. However, this is how some judges are deciding to interpret the law at the RDSC.

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Given the law in the UAE is not set on precedent, it’s only the judges who can decide whether they find favour with the tenant or the landlord.

They will always be objective in their decision, based on all the facts pertaining to the case at the time.

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

Updated: April 20, 2023, 4:00 AM