Our rental contract ended last November but my landlord had not found a buyer by then. He then asked me to sign a six-month rent contract, according to the terms of the eviction notice.
In February, I called the landlord to ask for his help to fix the air conditioner. However, he informed me that he had sold the property and asked me to contact the new owner instead.
The new landlord asked me to vacate as per the eviction notice date and said he intended to move in.
I asked him if he could renew the contract and was willing to pay the market rent since it is a hassle to move out as my wife is pregnant.
Is the new landlord supposed to serve me with a new eviction notice or does the old one still apply?
How can I find out if the new landlord wants me to leave to re-let the property? How can I extend my rental agreement? AB, Dubai
Answer: You will need to come to an agreement with your new landlord. But if he insists on you moving out and you do not wish to do so, your only alternative is to file a case at the Rent Dispute Settlement Committee.
Even though the law is not set on precedent, in similar situations in the past, judges at the RDSC have requested the new buyer to send their own 12-month eviction notice.
This is because of the different reason given for eviction. In this case, it is for the reason of the landlord moving in.
There is a good point to note. If this reason is used, the landlord has the burden of proof to confirm that he does not own another suitable property that he could use instead.
If you vacate and subsequently find out that the landlord has not moved in but re-let the property instead, you can file a case at the RDSC to claim unfair eviction, which could lead to compensation for you.
The compensation can be as much as the whole rental amount plus costs.
You will need to show evidence that the property has been re-let. For this, you will need to have witnesses such as security guards, building management or anyone else who can confirm that the unit’s new residents are, in fact, tenants.
Q: Your column in April 2022 said: “A rental contract automatically renews under the same terms and conditions if there is no communication between the two parties. However, if you have a specific clause in your agreement that states what you need to do in the event of contract renewal or vacating the unit, this must be adhered to.”
However, one of your columns in July 2016 said: “If your specific tenancy contract stipulates that the tenant has to inform the landlord of his intention to renew or not by giving 60 days’ notice, then this is what needs to be adhered to.
“If two months’ notice passes without communication from either party, the contract will automatically renew under the same terms and conditions as before. If this occurs, then neither party can alter the contract and the landlord cannot refuse to renew the contract.”
I suspect that the older column was about Abu Dhabi and the law is different in Dubai?
I always assumed that this clause was only for lease terminations and that if I did not notify the landlord, the rent would renew automatically. Am I wrong? MS, Dubai
A: The UAE's rental laws change from time to time and are slightly different from one emirate to the next.
Any agreement is a mutual understanding between two or more parties. All parties have – presumably by signing it – agreed to follow its terms and conditions.
However, when there is a dispute, the law follows clear guidelines.
Law 33 of 2008 changed some clauses of Law 26 of 2007, which is the law that governs the relationship between landlords and tenants.
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This amended law removed the tenant’s need to inform the landlord if they were not renewing because the contract has a start and end date.
Having said this, it is always good practice to inform the landlord of your intentions because there are procedures in place to receive your deposit back.
In practice, most tenants do inform the landlord, especially when renewing.
If there is no communication between the parties, the contract’s terms and conditions will remain the same.
Given how the market moves up and down, one of the parties will always want to inform the other of changes to the agreement, especially when it comes to the rent.
When the market goes up, the landlord normally informs the tenant about his wish for an increase in rent during renewal, and when the market is falling, the tenant seeks a rent reduction 90 days before the expiry of the lease.
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