Homefront: 'Should my landlord agree to a rolling monthly rental contract?'

The Dubai resident is unsure when she will leave the UAE and wants flexibility for the family

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - Reporter: N/A: A visitor to the Address Fountain Views Hotel takes pictures of Downtown Dubai. Tuesday, 3rd of March, 2020. Downtown, Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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We were planning to leave the UAE this week but have pushed our exit date to August, with a possibility we might stay in the Emirates until the end of this year or possibly summer 2021. This means technically we were due to move out of our apartment this month, but the landlord has reluctantly let us stay until the end of August. Ideally we would like to move on to a month-by-month contract after that, as there is just so much uncertainty, but our landlord refuses to do this. Instead he will only allow this three-month extension. With that in mind, what do you suggest we do after August? Find short-term accommodation, move into a smaller and cheaper home, or try to negotiate with the landlord again? We are a family of four, so we need to have some kind of plan in place to make sure we are all OK. And we need flexibility on how long we stay in our next home as it is very hard to decide when the best time is to relocate. GO, Dubai

 The property market in general, and the rental market specifically, is going through an ever-changing landscape and what may be agreed upon today with someone could change as we move forward during these uncertain times. With this in mind, you have several options available that will give you the flexibility required and the option of leaving the country relatively quickly if you need to.
Reading your email, you have pretty much answered your own question regarding what to do. However, my first suggestion is to go back to your landlord and recommend a one-year renewal but with a two-month break clause without penalty. This will potentially bring you to the summer of 2021, but if you need to leave earlier you have an agreement in place.

If your landlord is not compliant with this, you should then rent a suitable property on a short-term basis. These tend to be furnished units and, comparatively speaking, they are more expensive than long-term rentals. You might have to squeeze into a smaller property to get the flexibility for the departure date while also keeping costs down.
The last option is to find that elusive flexible landlord of another new property. With time now until August on your hands and with the uncertainty unravelling for landlords too, I think you may be lucky enough to find someone who will accommodate your terms during the next three months.

Mario Volpi is the sales and leasing manager at Engel & Volkers. He has worked in the property sector for more than 35 years in London and Dubai

The opinions expressed do not constitute legal advice and are provided for information only. Please send any questions to mario.volpi@engelvoelkers.com