Question: I currently rent a villa in Dubai. The property manager is a large real estate company.
However, I know that the minimum notice period for rent increases, as laid out by the Rera, is 90 days.
The rental agreement with this company states 15 days’ notice for rent increases, which is unreasonable since it is impossible to find something else in that time frame.
As it turns out, they informed me of the rent increase seven weeks in advance – still not enough time, in my reckoning.
My question is: which is the one we can hold to? The 90 days that Rera states or the 15 days that our agreement states? Which of these is the legally enforceable notice period?
Also, my lease was up for renewal on July 31. On July 1, they announced the new rent on their website showing a 10 per cent increase – which is reasonable in the current circumstances.
But a few days later, it changed to 20 per cent. Can this be done? SM, Dubai
Answer: The law is clear as to when a rental contract can be amended and the time frame to inform any party is at least 90 days from the renewal.
Your contract states 15 days, which is incorrect under the law. Therefore, I suggest you try to sort out a mutual agreement with the management company to come to some co-operation.
However, if they insist on the 15-day notice, you can file a case at the Rent Dispute Settlement Committee to complain.
With reference to the rental increase, the correct amount is what the Rera rental calculator states is allowed.
If the calculator states 20 per cent and this is permissible, then OK, but I repeat, if this was communicated to you with less than 90 days’ notice, it is not as per the law, and therefore not enforceable.
Q: What type of specific maintenance when performed by the tenant would require the landlord’s prior permission, according to article 19 of Dubai law 26/2007?
Is it any and all types of maintenance, which is inferred here, or one type of maintenance in particular? AT, Dubai
A: You pose an interesting question. Providing the landlord/tenant relationship is based on a solid foundation, I would suggest that the tenant can go ahead and carry out any maintenance issues that cost less than Dh500 ($136), without necessarily involving the landlord.
For repairs and maintenance that cost more than Dh500, the tenant should speak to the owner to understand the history of the potential problem, or if you can both agree to a solution.
In general, all types of maintenance is included - and not one specific one in particular.
Q: I have a tenant who does not want to leave my apartment.
I informed her in January that her contract, which expired on June 30, would not be renewed as she did not make rent payments on time.
She had agreed to move out then. Later, she asked for one more month to move out – July – which she didn’t pay for. She is still in the apartment. What can I do? DC, Dubai
The most expensive villa sold in Dubai – in pictures
A: To avoid any more time delays, you have the right to file a case with the RDSC.
I cannot predict the result. However, non-payment of rent is a breach of the contract and rental laws, so I presume a judge would find in your favour to remove the tenant and request full and final settlement of rent.
There is a possibility that a judge could give the tenant more time to pay her debt, but should order an eviction under the clauses of non-payment of rent.
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 email@example.com