Dubai landlord refuses to fix air conditioning unless rent is hiked

Keren Bobker advises a tenant who believes a rent rise is not due and has now been given an ultimatum.

The Jumeirah Lakes Towers on a hazy day. Mario Volpi helps a Dubai tenant with a rental problem.  Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
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My tenancy contract runs from July 10 2013 until July 10 2014 but I have received an email with a scanned copy of a tenancy contract renewal including a 5 per cent increase dated May 1, 2014. As far as I understand there are two errors. Firstly, the landlord has not given me 90 days’ notice and secondly, according to the updated rental calculator, a rent increase is not due. In addition, an air conditioning unit is not working and although I have provided three quotes for the repair costs, the landlord is refusing unless we pay a higher rent. NK, Dubai

The laws relating to rent issues in Dubai are very clear in that a landlord must provide 90 days’ notice, before the renewal date, of any changes to the contract. If this is not done, any amounts become academic as any increase is not enforceable. In addition, the landlord is responsible for the maintenance of the property and any fittings, which includes the air conditioning. I suggest you remind them of their legal obligations and that the rental committee will take a poor view of any landlord that does not maintain something as important as the air-conditioning system in this climate. You can raise a formal complaint, but it would be cheaper for the landlord to do what they should rather than pay the complaint costs.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai. Contact her at

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only. Readers are encouraged to seek appropriate independent legal advice

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