UAE Property: ‘Can my landlord evict me with 15 days' notice?’

It is illegal for the owner to request a tenant vacate a property with such short notice

Dubai property owners are required to send a notarised and/or registered mail notification giving 12 months’ notice to evict a tenant. Getty Images
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Question: I am having trouble with my landlord in renewing my lease for a two-bedroom apartment.

The landlord is asking me to vacate the premises on the last day of my rental contract.

However, he notified me of his decision only 15 days before the contract expires.

Is it legal to ask a tenant to vacate at such short notice? NN, Dubai

Answer: To evict a tenant, a property owner is required to send a notarised and/or registered mail notification giving 12 months’ notice.

There are four main reasons to evict a tenant. These are:

  1. To sell the property.
  2. For the property owner to move in their first-degree next of kin.
  3. For reasons of extensive renovation that would prevent the tenant from living in the property.
  4. For the reason of demolition.

If a tenant is in breach of the contract through any of the individual clauses contained within it, it is possible to be evicted in less than the 12 months. In fact, the time frame could typically be within 30 days.

These reasons could be for non-payment of rent, illegal or immoral use of the premises and unlawful subletting, to name a few.

So, unless you haven’t paid rent or are in breach of one of these clauses, the landlord cannot request evict you with just 15 days’ notice.

I suggest you inform the landlord of your rights and if he insists on going ahead with the eviction, you can file a case at the Rent Dispute Settlement Committee (RDSC) in Dubai.

Q: I rented a three-bedroom apartment in Dubai. My lease was due for renewal on October 1, but my landlord did not send a rent increase notice.

When I sent an email asking him to renew the agreement, he did not reply.

I went to his office and his manager told me that there would be a 10 per cent rent increase, as permitted by the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera).

I refused to pay the higher rent as the landlord had not informed me with two months' notice before the contract expired.

He asked me to vacate the apartment and to pay a penalty that was the equivalent of two months' rent. I was paying a rent of Dh60,000, so I would have to pay a Dh10,000 penalty, he said.

I requested the landlord to renew the lease for six months, but he refused.

I ended up paying the penalty and vacated the apartment. Can I claim a refund? SS, Dubai

A: Even if the Rera rental calculator allowed a 10 per cent increase, this would have been a change to your rental contract.

Any changes to a contract have to be communicated in writing, giving 90 days’ notice from the date of contract expiry.

As your landlord did not serve you the required 90-day notice, the rent increase is not valid.

If you are looking to get your penalty amount back, the only way to do this is to file a case with the RDSC. This would cost you 3.5 per cent of the annual rent.

The committee will then look into the case and conduct a thorough investigation.

While I cannot confirm what the outcome is likely to be, it is possible that given the details provided, the judge should find in your favour and request that compensation is awarded to you.

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 m.volpi@axcapital.ae

Updated: December 14, 2023, 4:00 AM