Question: I have been renting an apartment since 2019. We were supposed to renew the rental contract on May 25. However, my landlord was out of the country and sent me the new contract only on August 19.
I sent him a signed copy of the contract via email and initiated payment for the new rent I agreed to.
However, he has not signed the contract to date. Yesterday, I received a Dubai Court notary notification via WhatsApp to vacate the property in 12 months as my landlord is not willing to renew the lease and wants to sell the apartment.
Is it legally permissible for a landlord to send a Dubai Court notice via WhatsApp?
Since I don’t have a signed contract from his side and I have been paying the new rent continuously, what does the law state? Is it considered an automatic renewal?
Which rent should I pay while I continue staying here: the old rent or the new amount?
The eviction notice mentioned a 12-month period. Does this mean I have 12 months left? GG, Dubai
Answer: For a 12-month notification of eviction to be legal, it can only be sent via registered mail or notary public.
Often, the courier company pastes the notification on the door of the property and this is then deemed delivered as per the courts.
Sending a notification via WhatsApp is not one of the legal ways to inform a tenant that they are being served a 12-month notice to vacate.
When there is no communication between a landlord and tenant, a tenancy contract automatically renews under the same terms and conditions as before.
If you have verbally agreed to an increase in rent upon renewal, I would, therefore, use this amount just to show you are being reasonable.
However, you can just continue at the previous agreed rent, given his lack of communication.
I would also advise you to use the Real Estate Regulatory Agency’s deposit scheme, which will cost Dh1,500 but allows you to lodge your signed contract and rental cheques with them. The agency will contact the landlord on your behalf to arrange for collection and signature.
In terms of the notification, you have 12 months to vacate from the date of the officially sent notice.
Q: I own a property in Dubai. In one of your previous columns, you wrote that if a landlord wishes to repossess his property for the reason of moving in himself, this is permissible by law provided he gives his tenant a notarised notification and the statutory 12 months’ notice to vacate.
You mentioned that the eviction notice needs to be sent by registered mail or via notary public only.
Can you please confirm whether the notice can be served by registered mail? Other sources claim that the only way is through notary public.
I prefer to serve the notice by registered mail as it involves less hassle. HC, Dubai
A: Law 33 of 2008 amended some parts of Law 26 of 2007, which governs the relationship between landlords and tenants.
The old law states under article 25 (2) that the notification of 12 months is served either via a notary public or registered mail.
By this, I take the written word of the law to mean either one or the other.
But I would add a note of caution because it has been shown that the Rent Dispute Settlement Committee places greater weight on notices served via the notary public.
Therefore, any notices sent via registered mail should also be notarised to have the full weight of the law.
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