New owner wants to move in to Dubai flat, but tenant intends to stay for another year

Although they have followed the law, property expert Mario Volpi advises them to prepare for all possible outcomes when the case goes before the rental committee.

While the law is clear on Dubai rents and tenancy contracts, external factors such as the presiding judge on the day could affect the outcome of a case filed before the rental committee. Randi Sokoloff / The National
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My husband and I bought a flat last year in September. The previous landlord had tenants. The tenants received the Dubai court order to vacate the flat on August 8, 2013, but their lease ends this month. We bought the flat to live in, not for an investment. This is our first property purchase and we do not own any other property in Dubai. After we bought the flat we offered them compensation if they would move out before their lease ends. They refused and we accepted. As they received the notification from the court and did not make any payment to us, we decided not to renew the contract. A month ago, the tenants contacted us and asked for an extension of the contract by completely ignoring the notification they have received. We reminded them they received the notification from the court and they need to vacate the flat by the end of their lease. They claimed the previous landlord notification was not valid, we had to renew the contract and reconfirm the notification. We hired a lawyer. He sent them a letter pointing out that we have no intention of extending the contract, they have a choice of vacating the flat this month at the end of their lease or stay until August 8, 2014 and pay for the grace period. A few days ago my husband received a call from a prestigious law firm. The lawyer told him his client wants to stay for one more year, otherwise they will take us to court. From our research and the conversation with professionals it seems we have done what the law required. DGM, Dubai

It would appear that you/your previous owner have indeed complied with what is expected of you gaining vacant possession of the property you have legitimately bought to live in.

The notice of eviction started on August 8, 2013, therefore the tenants would be entitled to remain in the property until this day this year, irrespective of when their tenancy agreement ended.

The period between July and August 8 would indeed need to be paid to you on a pro-rata basis.

This is where the tricky bit starts. Although as stated you have done all correctly, the end result could be determined by external factors such as any influential evidence that could act against you.

I have heard in the past that despite an incoming family (like yours) wanting to move into a property legitimately bought and apparently properly notified to the outgoing tenant(s), they were given one more year to stay in the rented property in a decision at the rental committee.

I just wanted to give you a heads up.

The law is clear and you have complied, but sometimes decisions can turn out in surprising ways. I would open a case at the rental committee and follow their advice.

*****

My landlord has agreed to renew the lease for another year. He suggested a rent above the Rera limit and I sent him a screen shot from the Rera calculator and suggested a lower figure accommodating the maximum allowed increase. I have since asked if he is preparing the lease or whether he wants us to meet and do it jointly, and then of course I can provide the cheques as well. Last Saturday I spoke to him on the phone and he said he would provide the lease at end of this week, as he had been busy and away. I want to avoid any disputes about him not getting cheques on time or any other unilateral action by him, but without a new lease I am not keen simply to send him the cheques. MP, Dubai

I fully understand your reluctance to send cheques without an end result. I would email your landlord to organise a meeting to confirm you are ready to sign the contract and to pay your rental cheques.

By emailing there is a written record of your intentions recorded to execute the signing of the contract and paying of your rent.

It is in his interest to get the paperwork sorted in a timely manner, because if not the law states the new rental agreement will automatically renew from the old anyway at the same terms and conditions as before.

Mario Volpi is the managing director of Prestige Real Estate in Dubai (prestigedubai.com). He has 30 years’ of property industry experience in the emirate and London. Send any questions to mario@prestigedubai.com

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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