UAE property: 'I lost my job and cannot pay the rent'

The Dubai resident will be moving to another country for work but the landlord is demanding the full lease payment

The Burj Khalifa in Dubai. If a lease does not have an early release clause, the full year's rent is expected to be paid. Reuters
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Question: I live in a hotel serviced apartment in Dubai. There is no Ejari.

Late last year, I renewed my annual lease for a second year. At the time, there was no indication of any problems from my employer, who I have been working for since 2020.

This year, my employer dismissed me without cause. I have already found and accepted a better job in another country, but the terms of my lease are a problem: No early termination, no subletting and no assignment is allowed.

The landlord has, in writing, denied my request for early termination and subletting, and will not allow the movers to remove my belongings because it won't write a clearance letter unless the entire balance due on the lease is paid.

The lease is paid in 12 monthly cheques. Financially, I cannot pay off the balance due on the lease, which runs through to January 2024, in a lump-sum payment right now.

The lease claims to be “in accordance with the laws of the Emirate of Dubai and of the UAE”. How can I get out of the lease early without paying the remaining seven months' balance due? LL, Dubai

Answer: If your tenancy contract does not have an early release clause written into it, unfortunately, you will be at the mercy of the landlord.

I understand that you’ve tried to negotiate with the landlord to find a suitable solution, however, if the owner doesn’t agree, your only alternative would be to file a case at the Rent Dispute Settlement Committee to see if the judge would find in your favour.

In cases where contracts do have early release clauses, these often take the shape of two months' notice and a one to two-month rental penalty in favour of the landlord.

I’m stating this just to give you a suggestion as to what these clauses say to try to help you when negotiating with your landlord.

I do stress that your landlord has not done anything wrong requesting the full year's payment before releasing you from the contract.

I would suggest you offer some sort of financial compensation and state that you could also help to find a new tenant for the landlord.

The market is good for landlords at the moment, so it shouldn’t be too long before another tenant is found.

If the landlord will not play ball with you at all, you can file a case at the RDSC, citing the landlord is not being reasonable and see what outcome is decided.

Q: I have been staying at a rented villa in Dubai for the past five years. On renewal, I agreed to an increase in rent as per the Real Estate Regulatory Agency calculator. In fact, I offered a much higher rent.

However, the landlord has still given me a notice to vacate after one year. This has been issued by notary public but delivered to me via WhatsApp. The reason given is to sell the villa.

I want to know if I have any options to renew the contract and continue living in the villa after the notice period of one year. Also, if the landlord rents the villa to someone instead of selling it, how can I know this to complain to Rera? GK, Dubai

A: The correct way to send an eviction notice as per: law 33 of 2008 is via notary public or registered mail.

You say that you have a notary public notice, but it was sent via WhatsApp. This is not, in my opinion, the correct way to be delivered as per the law, so I believe you would be within your rights to question the notice.

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During the year's notice, you are at liberty to reside in the property, but in the event that no sale has taken place by the time the 12 months have elapsed, you can file a case at the RDSC to challenge your eviction and see what the judge will decide.

The landlord is not allowed to evict you and then re-let the property to someone else.

If this happens, you can file a case at the RDSC, but you will need evidence, including a copy of the new Ejari. If this is not possible, seek help from others, such as your neighbours, to confirm that new tenants are residing in your old property.

Ultimately, you can always speak to the occupants themselves to confirm.

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: July 27, 2023, 4:00 AM