More than 100 tenants in a Palm Jumeirah residential block have been issued a 90-day eviction notice, as its developer looks to turn the building into catered apartments.
Residents of Golden Mile 3 on Shoreline Road were told of the decision this month before a major refurbishment.
An eviction notice was sent out by Nakheel, the developer that owns the building and acts as landlord. The letter citied major upgrades as the reason.
Nakheel told The National that the move was lawful and in line with Dubai government rules.
Vasileios Stavrakas, who has lived in the building since 2019, said he will contest the eviction.
His annual lease is due to expire at the end of July but he intended to sign for another year.
In Dubai, a landlord must give tenants 12 months' notice if they wish them to replace them with a new tenant or move in themselves.
Nakheel would not go into specifics but suggested this was not necessary given it is turning the building into a commercial property.
Mr Stavrakas claimed, however, that the law is on his side.
“In February, Nakheel sent out an alert to tenants saying it was planning to carry out refurbishment works in the building in order to improve the living experience for residents,” he said.
“At that time, they said each tenant would be notified when their apartment was due for upgrading.
“We were told we would be moved to a refurbished apartment within the same building until the work in our own apartments had been completed.”
After the alert, tenants started reaching out to Nakheel to ask more questions about the process but Mr Stavrakas said they were not told of the eviction.
At the start of June, he received an eviction notice telling him he needed to move out of the property within 90 days.
“As far as the law goes, we should be given 12 months notice of eviction,” he said.
“One tenant had just signed a new lease with Nakheel for that very building a month prior to the notice being sent out.”
Over the past few days, Mr Stavrakas said the common areas of the building have been turned into a construction site with workers drilling all throughout the day.
“The police have visited the apartment several times over the last few days as tenants have had no choice but to complain about the disruption,” Mr Stavrakas said.
“Several of us have lodged a complaint with Dubai Municipality and we have submitted requests to Rera to review the matter.”
Elinor Reilly, an Irish resident who received the same notice, moved into the property when it first opened in 2018.
“This was exciting news albeit surprising given that the building is only four years old,” she said.
“In recent months, we have had to endure ongoing construction throughout the building, but we put up with it knowing that we’d eventually have a refurbished apartment to move back into.
“But to receive a 90-day eviction notice, midway through my tenancy, has come as a huge shock.”
She said the construction has now escalated so much that it is almost impossible to avoid.
In a statement to The National, Nakheel it said it had identified that the building needed to undergo major refurbishment.
“This building will also be subject to a change of use, from residentially leased apartments to serviced apartments,” it said.
“This change of use, along with the impact of refurbishment, means that Nakheel served 90 days’ notice to all existing tenants within Golden Mile 3.
“Nakheel is committed to supporting its tenants and all notices given will be fully compliant with the UAE regulations and laws which are required when such actions are taking place.”
Know the law
As per the law, to evict an existing tenant, a landlord must provide one of four reasons as to why they are doing so before putting the tenant on a 12-month eviction notice.
Qualifying reasons for eviction include:
- the landlord wants to sell the property
- the landlord wishes to move into the property or to move immediate family into the property, provided the landlord does not own a suitable alternative property for that purpose, and evidence must be provided in advance
- the property requires extensive modernisation work that would prevent the tenant from living in it while the work is being carried out, and evidence of plans or approvals for work must be provided in advance
- the property needs to be demolished, and evidence must be provided in advance
The National contacted several industry experts who said that as per the law Nakheel should be giving 12 months notice, despite carrying out major upgrades to the property.