Question: I have been living in a townhouse in Dubai with my wife and children since 2019.
My lease is due for renewal in this month. I sent an email to my landlord about my wish to renew the lease 90 days before the contract renewal.
I also sent her two reminders via email. My landlord did not reply to my email or WhatsApp messages. She was not available on the phone and the estate agent also could not contact her.
However, the owner recently contacted me on WhatsApp and said she wants to sell the property and I must allow multiple house viewings by prospective buyers.
But there is no mention of viewings by prospective buyers anywhere in my lease.
The owner is not willing to renew the contract under the current terms or per the Real Estate Regulatory Agency rental calculator.
My landlord has not served me a notice for a rent increase or eviction. The contract stipulates that she must serve two months’ notice before renewal for a rent increase.
Now, she says I must either renew the contract with the new owner or she may renew with a 25 per cent increase in rent.
Can she legally increase the rent saying it is the market price even when Rera says no increase is permitted? Can she increase the rent without serving 60 days’ notice?
Finally, do I have agree to multiple viewings by prospective buyers? Don’t my family and I have privacy rights? JJ, Dubai
Answer: No landlord can change any part of a rental contract without first giving 90 days’ notice before the expiry or renewal date of the contract. In the case of a rent increase, property owners can only raise it based on what the Rera rental calculator allows.
Rental increases are governed by the Rera rental calculator, not vacant market rental prices.
The landlord has to renew with you if that is what you would like to do, irrespective of the fact that she wishes to sell.
If she continues to be obstructive on this point, I suggest that you use the Rera pay and collect rental scheme. This allows you to lodge the rent cheques and contracts with Rera, which will then contact the owner to request they collect the documents and cheques.
There is a charge of Dh1,500 ($408) to use the service.
When it comes to allowing viewings or not, unless it is expressly written in the contract that access for viewing purposes is allowed, then you don’t necessarily have to agree to this.
You pay rent for what is legally known as quiet enjoyment. This essentially means privacy and enjoyment of the property in exchange for rent paid.
Q: My landlord served a 12-month eviction notice a year ago. I signed this document, but it was not legally authenticated.
However, I am interested in staying in the property and offered the landlord a Dh20,000 rental increase.
Can I ignore the notice, as it was not notarised? SL, Dubai
A: Your question is a little confusing, however, I will answer as I understand your point.
For an eviction notice to be legal, it has to be sent by notary public or registered mail and served with a notice period of 12 months.
From what I can see, your notification wasn’t notarised, so technically it was not legally sent even if you signed it.
There is a case to argue that your signature does in some way validate it, but the outcome from any case filed at the Rent Dispute Settlement Committee will be determined by the judge at the time of the hearing.
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