Homefront: 'Can my tenant move out without giving any notice?'

The Dubai owner recently became a landlord after his parents gave him the apartment as a gift

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. 07 MAY 2019. Residents of the Greens in Dubai that are having restless nights due to a newly erected buildngs overpoweringly strong strobe warning lights illuminating the are at night. (Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National) Journalist: Patrick Ryan. Section: National.
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I have just been gifted an apartment in Dubai by my parents. There is a tenant living in the apartment and he has been notified that I am the new owner. We were in the middle of rental price discussions for this year but he has now stopped replying or answering my calls on his decision to stay or leave. The rent was due two weeks ago. Is there any legal loophole that allows him to move out instantly without giving me any sort of notice? What can I do to protect myself and prepare for the worst? I was hoping to receive at least the next 90 days rent, as stated by law, if he decides to move out to pay off some bills. What do you suggest? SC, Dubai 

There are a couple of points here I would like to mention. The first is that if there is no objection or changes to a rental contract, it automatically renews on the same terms and conditions as before. That said, in your case, you confirm that you both were in contact and that negotiations were taking place.

The second point I need to confirm relates to the law.  Law 26 of 2007 is the law that governs the relationship between landlords and tenants; in it there is a clause that states 90 days' notice is required by the landlord if the tenant wishes to renew or not. Some parts of this law were amended by Law 33 of 2008, which did away with the need for a tenant to give this 90-day notice for non-renewal. Therefore, it is not actually illegal for a tenant to move out at the end of the tenancy contract without giving notice.

I’m not suggesting this is what has happened here, but to know one way or the other, my advice would be to visit the property (given the tenant is not responding to calls) to see if there is any evidence of occupancy. Speak to security guards to enquire if they have seen your tenant. Presumably, you still have his deposit so this can be used to paint and clean the property in the event he has vacated.

What are the rules on painting a villa when you move out? Some people say you should paint it and others say you shouldn't. I have a standard contract with my landlord and it doesn't mention anything about painting, so do I paint the property or not? SM, Abu Dhabi

In all rental contracts, the tenant has an obligation to give back a property in the same condition as it was given at the start of the tenancy (allowing for some wear and tear). Check with your landlord as to how he or she would like this to be done. Some landlords automatically repaint and clean, then take the amount spent from the security deposit held; others leave it up to the tenant to repaint and clean. Either way, the property has to be taken care of before handover.

Mario Volpi is the sales and leasing manager at Engel & Volkers. He has worked in the property sector for 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