UAE property: ‘My tenant refuses to move out after lease expiry’

Despite verbally agreeing to vacate the property when the contract ended, the tenant changed his mind and will move out only after eviction notice date

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Question: I purchased an apartment in Dubai with a tenant in situ. The previous owner served the tenant with a 12-month eviction notice on December 1, 2022.

The tenancy contract expires on June 1, 2023. When I spoke with the tenant prior to buying the apartment, he said he did not wish to renew the lease but requested two to four weeks of additional time.

The seller also told me that the tenant didn’t want to renew and had requested for an additional month of stay only.

I informed both the seller and the tenant that I have to vacate the apartment I currently rent by July 1, 2023, as my landlord has already served an eviction notice.

After purchasing the apartment, I shared my title deed with the tenant. I asked him to let me know when he would vacate as I need to move in soon with a few weeks required to repair and restore the apartment.

However, the tenant now says he is not sure of moving out. He claims that he is legally entitled to stay in the apartment until December 1.

He is not sure when his new apartment will be ready. It is in the final stage of handover by the developer and might be ready for possession only in October.

The tenant had not sent an email or message to the former owner about his intention to renew the contract.

There is the provision of a clause under additional conditions of the tenancy contract that the tenant needs to serve 60 days' notice prior to the end of the contract if he wishes to “vacate” the apartment. However, this clause doesn’t mention anything about the “renewal” of the contract.

The tenant has not renewed the current tenancy contract under Ejari. However, the previous year’s contract is registered under Ejari.

As the tenant has not served an official notice to renew – and as his tenancy contract expires on June 1 – is he not liable to vacate the apartment at the end of the lease?

My landlord wishes to move into the apartment I currently live in and cannot give me an extension beyond July 1. What do I do? HS, Dubai

Answer: The problem with verbal agreements is that parties can and often do change their minds due to circumstances not present at the time of the agreement.

In your case, the tenant does have the right to stay on until the end of the eviction notice (December 2023), which is of no help to you at the moment.

The only way a tenant is forced to stick to an agreed move-out date is if that confirmation notice is prepared via notary public.

Relying on a tenant who says they will vacate on a specific date is not strong enough should their circumstances change and they decide to withdraw the agreement.

With a notarised date of vacating, they have to move out on that specific date.

Email or WhatsApp communications, while perfectly acceptable when all are in agreement, do not hold value should the tenant change their mind, but notarised communications do.

According to the law, the tenant does not have to give any number of specific days of notice to renew the contract, so technically he can do so up to June 1 to extend the agreement.

The second point is moot, as the 12-month notice takes the tenant to December 2023 anyway.

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Your situation is difficult because there are many people to convince or request assistance from: your landlord, your seller and your current tenant.

Each one will have to give way to you for you to get a settlement.

You may have to incentivise the tenant to move out, but this will cost you. You can move your furniture into storage but again this will cost you.

You can request your landlord to give you more time but this, as you say, may be difficult. For each way you turn, you will have to compromise and there is a cost each time.

It’s nobody’s fault, but these situations do occur quite regularly, therefore try to meet all of them separately, face-to-face to come to an understanding.

The bottom line is that there is nothing in the law that is set out to help you in this situation, it’s all about compromise and agreements.

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: May 25, 2023, 4:00 AM