UAE property: ‘What are the legal requirements to evict a tenant?’

The landlord must deliver a written notification through notary public or registered mail to ask a renter to vacate a property

The landlord should send the 12 months’ notice to vacate for the reason of himself or his first degree next of kin moving in upon expiry of the current tenancy contract. Alamy
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Question: We have been renting our villa for five years, with the current contract due to expire on August 2, 2023.

We received an email on May 4 asking us to vacate the “apartment” on August 2 to enable the landlord to move in.

The landlord has in excess of 75 properties and, judging by the use of the word “apartment” instead of villa, the email appears to be a copy and paste of what he has sent to other tenants.

Is my understanding correct that the landlord must provide a legal letter to evict us, and only when that letter is received, the 12-month eviction period commences?

Should I respond to his email or wait for the eviction letter?

Finally, if the official eviction letter arrives within 90 days of the expiry of the existing contract, do I continue to pay the same rent as now for the 12-month notice period?

We would love to continue staying in this villa and are prepared to pay a small increase in rent. PK, Dubai

Answer: The first thing to note is that if your landlord wants to regain possession of his property, the correct way to inform you would be a written notification via notary public or registered mail, giving you 12 months’ notice.

The written notice cannot be in the form of an email or messaging service such as WhatsApp, so the email sent to you is not valid.

The landlord should send the 12-months notice to vacate for the reason of himself or his first degree next of kin moving in upon expiry of your current tenancy contract.

That will then give you one more renewal before he moves in.

Any changes to the renewal contract should be communicated in writing (email is fine here), giving 90 days’ notice of the proposed changes.

If, however, this 90-day window is missed for whatever reason, no changes would be legally allowed and this would include increases in the rent, whether allowed as per the Real Estate Regulatory Agency rental calculator or not.

Q: I rented a house in Dubai three years ago. Less than one year into the lease, the house was sold.

As soon as the purchase was completed, I was served an attested 12 month-eviction notice, as the new landlord wanted to move in.

Year one of the lease had been completed, but since 10 months remained out of the 12-month notice, I renewed the contract with the new owner for that period with no increase in rent.

The second year of the lease ended and I was required to vacate the house. But the owner said she was willing to renew the contract for another year, as she would like to move in next year.

We both agreed to this and the rent was increased by 10 per cent in line with the Rera index.

I agreed to vacate the house at the end of the lease, without being served another eviction notice. The new tenancy contract also stated that it is non-renewable.

The contract is about to end, I am moving out and have put down the deposit for another property.

But it seems that the landlord now wants to relet the property instead of moving in, as agreed. I feel cheated as I am suffering a financial loss because of the move.

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I will immediately find out from my friends in the neighbourhood if the house has been relet.

What are my legal options if the property is relet? Will the clause about the contract being non-renewable devoid me of any rights to contest? MQ, Dubai

A: The owner or the next of kin of first degree is entitled to move into the property and you both have now agreed that you should vacate the property due to this fact.

The owner is then not entitled to relet the property for a period of two years beyond this. If you find out that the owner has subsequently relet the property during this time, you would be entitled to compensation for your loss.

The potential compensation you could gain would be the equivalent of the year’s rent plus any costs in relation to filing the case.

It is important to note that your amended contract that had a clause stating that the contract is non-renewable refers to your tenancy only. It would not negate the property being relet, per se.

Having said that, the law doesn’t allow for a property to be relet after you vacate for the period of two years.

I think you would be well within your rights to file a case in the event that the owner relets the property within this period.

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 m.volpi@axcapital.ae

Updated: May 18, 2023, 4:00 AM