UAE Property: 'Tenant is ignoring eviction and wants to renew lease'

The landlord’s decision on whether or not to go ahead with the lease depends on their reason for the eviction

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Question: I served my tenant with 12 months’ notice to vacate my property.

With three months remaining to vacate the apartment, he sent me an email and WhatsApp message that he intends to renew the rental lease by another year and at the existing rate.

Is this valid? What are my options? VM, Dubai

Answer: You say you gave your tenant 12 months' notice to vacate, but you did not mention the reason for eviction. This is important as it will determine how accurately I answer your question.

If the reason is for selling, technically speaking, and if you allow it, you can extend the tenancy despite the notice, in the event you have not sold the property yet.

If a buyer has been found and the new owner is an investor, they cannot evict the current tenant to then go ahead and re-let to someone else as this is not allowed.

If the buyer is an owner-occupier, it has been shown that some judges at the Rent Dispute Settlement Committee have requested the new owner to send their own 12-month notice to the tenant, rather than just holding on to the original eviction notice.

In the owner-occupier case, however, I would like to point out that this ruling is entirely up to the judge of the day, as some judges are now looking at original eviction notices as having more power than before. So, I stress that nobody can predict the outcome.

If you have requested the eviction for you to move in, then you can file a case to evict the tenant at the expiration of the notice.

If, however, you have changed your mind and are happy to allow the renewal of the tenancy agreement, you can change any part of the contract (if allowed) as long as you give 90 days’ notice of the changes from the date of the renewal.

You say that the tenant wants to renew at the same rate as last year, but if the Real Estate Regulatory Agency’s rental calculator states that increases are allowed and you have given him 90 days’ notice of the same, then you are entitled to the increases stated.

If you are outside the 90-day period and you are OK with the renewal, then no changes can be made and all the same terms and conditions as before would apply at this renewal.

Q: I am involved in a rental dispute with my landlord.

He owns two buildings in Dubai and has asked all his tenants to vacate the units as soon as possible.

Most rental contracts ended last year and all tenants have been following up with the landlord to renew their contracts.

However, he always gave us an excuse that the system was down and that the contracts would be renewed once the system was back online.

The real reason is that he was involved in a family dispute and the court had frozen all his transactions.

He called all tenants in January, asking us to vacate the apartments by the end of February and pay the pending rent amount in cash or face the risk of the courts getting involved. MK, Dubai

Property prices in the UAE so high you need a helicopter to visit

Property prices in the UAE so high you need a helicopter to visit

A: A landlord can only request the eviction of a tenant by giving 12 months’ notice for four main reasons.

These are: to sell it, to move into the property themselves or their next of kin to the first degree – and only if the landlord can prove they do not own another suitable property that they can move into instead – for reason of extensive modernisation that will prevent any tenant from living in the property while the works are carried out and, lastly, because it is being demolished.

The last two reasons require a technical report to back up the work needed.

Other than for these reasons, the landlord cannot refuse renewal if the tenant wants to renew the lease.

Obviously, there are other reasons that would lead to a tenant being evicted. These include, but are not limited to, non-payment of rent, noise nuisance, running a business from a residential property without a proper licence, subletting without the landlord's consent, and illegal or immoral activities.

For all these reasons, there is a different process that is finalised in less time than the 12 months’ notice.

I would suggest that you sit tight and do nothing. Let the landlord organise which eviction notices he says he will do via the courts.

At that point, you will at least understand what is actually going on. For now, it is just smoke and mirrors with no clarity.

Mario Volpi is the sales director at AX Capital. He has worked in the property sector for 40 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: February 22, 2024, 4:00 AM