Question: My landlord and I do not get along. Although I will be moving out of the property soon, I want to understand my rights as a tenant.
The landlord served me with a 12-month notarised eviction notice and I am abiding by it.
However, he owns many properties in the row I reside in and has often served his tenants with a notice to vacate, citing his intention to sell, and then proceeds to lease the unit to another family.
I am aware that I can approach the Rental Dispute Settlement Committee with evidence and that there will be some claim involved. What is the burden of proof required?
Also, the landlord gives the property as a gift to members of his family, to dodge the law, citing his alleged intention to sell. Do judges not see through this? JK, Dubai
Answer: The law states that when a tenant is evicted for the reason of the owner moving in himself, or his next of kin by first degree, then the property cannot be rented out again for a period of two years.
When the reason for eviction is the property sale, the law is silent on this point and people assume the “no rent for two years” rule also applies to this point.
Any outcome is entirely up to a presiding judge at the RDSC at the time of filing the case.
With reference to the burden of proof, this can take the form of any written confirmation, for example via WhatsApp, or a recording of a conversation, etc. If an Ejari contract can be presented as proof, this would be even better.
Regarding your landlord’s tactics or strategy, the fact that he owns a whole row of similar properties would be enough of a red flag for any judge.
But as the law is not set on precedent, each outcome is only determined by the presiding judge of the day.
Q: Our landlord served us with an eviction notice after negotiations over a potential rent increase failed.
He wanted to increase the rent in breach of the Real Estate Regulatory Agency’s calculator and also did not notify us 90 days before the expiry of the contract.
Therefore, we rejected his demand. He said that we either had to pay the rent increase or he would evict us. We declined again because this was a form of blackmail.
However, we told the landlord that we were willing to vacate the property after eight months because we are planning to leave Dubai.
He agreed on the condition that we would pay a rent increase now and again after a year. We declined as we didn’t feel it was a fair condition.
We signed the new rent contract on December 5, 2022, with the lease starting from December 10 last year and ending on December 9, 2023.
A few days later, we received an eviction notice signed by the landlord, which claimed that he wants to use the property himself.
Can the landlord evict us? We have the right to stay till December 9, based on the contract. Does he need to prove that he needs the property for his own use?
He owns one or more properties in Dubai. He now says that he wants his daughters to move in. We feel bullied. What can we do to stay in the property? NW, Dubai
A: Yearly negotiations with one’s landlord, especially when the market is rising, can be very stressful.
This is mainly due to two different points of view and the potential ignorance of the law.
That said, it is important to explain with facts what one party is allowed to do when it comes to rent increases.
While the law is clear when a landlord should serve the 12-month eviction notice to the tenant, it has been shown in the past that some judges at the RDSC have allowed landlords to serve the notice at any time.
The owner is entitled to serve this notice for use of himself or his first-degree next of kin. However, the landlord has the burden of proof to show that he does not own another suitable property that could be used for this purpose instead.
Therefore, if you feel that he is merely using this as an excuse to evict you, you can always file a case nearer the time, to force him to show proof of the same.
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 email@example.com