UAE Property: ‘Can a landlord evict a tenant and re-let the unit?’

If a homeowner wants to rent out the property again, they need to offer the old tenant the first right of refusal

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Question: I am planning to sell my townhouse in Dubai in the fourth quarter of 2024 for Dh2.4 million ($653,505).

I have served my tenant with a 12-month eviction notice for this purpose through email.

If I cannot sell my property after the tenant has vacated, can I then rent out the unit again in the ensuing months?

What I have heard on forums is that a landlord cannot rent out the property for another two years if my reason for eviction is to sell. Is this correct?

The law seems to be quite tilted in favour of tenants. GM, Dubai

Answer: Given that you have served your tenant with a 12-month eviction notice for reason of selling and then do not go on to sell the property, your course of action is quite simple.

If you want to re-let the property again, you need to give the old tenant the first right of refusal.

In simple terms, you would need to offer the property back to the original tenant on the same terms and conditions as before.

If they refuse or no longer wish to move back in, they need to confirm this in writing, after which you are at liberty to re-let to whoever you choose, as effectively you now have a no-objection letter from the outgoing tenant.

If you just go on to re-let the property without the previous tenant’s consent, they could file a case against you for unfair eviction and you may end up having to pay compensation equivalent to one year’s rent to the tenant.

According to Law 33 of 2008, you cannot re-let the property for two years if you have evicted a tenant for the reason of moving in yourself or your first degree next of kin.

When the eviction reason is due to selling, the law is silent on this point.

Q: I have a question about what happens to property owners’ rights once a building has been demolished.

Is it the responsibility of the homeowners’ association to rebuild the property?

What will be the buyers’ ownership status after the building is demolished?

For example, if a tower has 300 apartments and after it has been demolished, will all 300 owners be shareholders in the plot? Can they rebuild the tower or sell the plot? MAA, Dubai

A: Your question is interesting but needs to be clarified in two parts. The answer will be determined depending on whether the building is freehold or leasehold.

Freehold is when an individual owns a physical property and the land that it is built upon. Leasehold is when an individual owns the physical property but does not own the land it is built on.

In the second scenario, a period of 99 years is typically offered to the property owner, after which the actual unit becomes the property of the land owner. In other words, the unit owner loses the right over the property.

Let us begin with the freehold scenario. If a building is in such disrepair or requires demolition, firstly, there would have to be the municipality’s consent attached to this decision.

But the owners of the physical units remain in control of the future building and its construction, given they would also be the owners of the land.

Typically, an owners’ association is formed to manage this process going forward, whether to rebuild or sell the plot alone.

In the case of leasehold, the same theory is applicable for owners of the individual units. They would have a say in whether the building is rebuilt or the plot is sold.

However, the value of their individual units would diminish as the years roll down to zero.

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: November 16, 2023, 4:00 AM