UAE Property: ‘I want to renew my lease despite agreeing to vacate’

The tenant signed a previous rent contract with a clause stating the lease was non-renewable

A landlord has to allow a tenant to renew their lease if that is what the tenant wants to do. Getty
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Question: I have been renting an apartment in Dubai for three years. My contract ends in August.

Last year, while making the current tenancy contract, my landlord added a clause under “additional terms” stating that: “The period of tenancy is only for one year and is non-renewable. After completion of the tenor, the property will be vacated. On vacating the premises, the property should be left in a clean/tidy condition.”

I signed the tenancy contract and the Ejari was also registered.

My landlord has not served me with an eviction notice through notary or registered mail.

I want to renew the tenancy contract and continue living in the same property for another year.

Recently, I came across rules of the Real Estate Regulatory Agency, according to which the landlord cannot rent out the property to another tenant unless they are related to him.

What option do I have for renewal? Or can I do nothing because I already signed the contract last year? RG, Dubai

Answer: Despite the fact that you signed the contract, this non-renewal clause is not admissible because a landlord has to allow a tenant to renew the lease if that is what the tenant wants to do.

In your case, although you have signed the contract, you are now technically in dispute because you do not agree with this clause.

If you were to file a case with the Rent Dispute Settlement Committee, the default position is the law, and in theory at least, the judge should find in your favour and request the landlord to allow you to renew your contract.

A landlord is only allowed to request the eviction of a tenant for the following four reasons:

1) To sell the property.

2) To move in him/herself, or to enable his/her next of kin to occupy the property. If this reason is given, the landlord is then not allowed to re-let the property for at least two years for residential, or three years for commercial.

3) To carry out renovations that would prevent the tenant from living in the property while the work is ongoing.

4) To demolish the property.

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If either of the last two reasons is given, a technical report must be provided to serve as evidence of the planned works.

In any of the above cases, the landlord must inform the tenant in writing about the eviction via notary public or registered mail, giving 12 months’ notice.

Q: I have been renting a villa in Dubai for the past five years and the contract is due for renewal soon.

We’ve always paid the rent on time and maintained the villa like it was our own.

I had agreed to a rent increase in line with the Rera rent calculator. The landlord sent the contract but with wrong figures.

I returned it to him and asked him to cite the amount we had agreed so that I could get the Ejari.

He has gone silent for the past three weeks despite gentle reminders. I am now getting reminders from both the Dubai Land Department and the community office that I need to upload the new contract.

What are my options if he remains silent? Should I just pay the old rent until he updates the contract?

Can the property developer evict me if I don’t have a new contract? ML, Dubai

A: If the landlord remains silent, I would use Rera’s rental cheque deposit scheme. You drop off your rent cheques at the DLD, they will issue you a receipt and contact the landlord to inform him that they have the rent cheques and ask him to collect them.

In terms of the rent to be paid, I would use the figure that was agreed by both of you – not the old rent, nor the figure the landlord indicated in the contract. Presumably, you have proof of the agreed terms.

As far as the developer is concerned, just show them the incorrect rental contract (to prove your intent to renew) and the receipts from Rera that indicate that you have paid your rent.

Explain that the paperwork is being updated and should be sorted soon. This should be sufficient for the developer to allow you to continue to live there until the correct paperwork is ready.

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: July 06, 2023, 4:00 AM