Before signing a lease contract, it’s crucial to make sure that you have a proper understanding of the rights and responsibilities that you have as a tenant in Dubai. At the same time, you have to understand the landlord’s obligations. Failing to do so can lead to quite some issues related to property rental.
Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA) of Dubai has set particular laws to manage landlord-tenant relationships. In a nutshell, they pretty much look like this:
Prior to getting the keys to your new rental apartment or house, both you and the property owner become part of a rental agreement that is referred to as a tenancy contract. This document basically establishes a legally binding agreement that allows you to take advantage of the property use for an outlined time period and purpose. The tenancy contract includes all the lease terms, including the requirements and expectations of both parties. Clear outlining and definition of terms and conditions in the contract help to prevent any possible misunderstanding and disputes between the parties.
In Dubai, the landlord-tenant relationship is regulated by RERA under the Dubai Rental Law No. 26 of 2007 and amendments from Law No. 33 of 2008. This law basically outlines the roles and responsibilities of the parties. All the rental disputes and rent increase matters are reviewed by the Rent Disputes Settlement Centre (RDSC) under Decree No. 26 of 2013 and Decree No. 43 of 2013, respectively.
RERA generally regulates Dubai’s entire real estate sector and tenancy contract rules. Several years ago the agency launched a new tenancy contract system under the Ejari system. Today, all tenancy contracts in Dubai must be registered with Ejari in order to be legitimate.
Both tenant and landlord must sign a tenancy contract in the presence of a witness. If necessary, Dubai Land Department (DLD) accepts the signature of the property owner’s legal representative by Power of Attorney (POA). However, POA is only valid for two
years and should be re-stamped by Dubai Courts after this period runs out. Real estate management companies with DLD licenses can also sign contracts for the properties they manage. The official DLD website has a list of approved companies.
The contract term is extended automatically if the tenant stays on the property after the agreement expires. It extends for the same period or a year, depending on which is less, with all the same conditions and terms as were outlined in the original contract, unless you’ve settled on different terms with the landlord.
If the tenant decides to vacate the property they rent earlier than outlined in the contract, the landlord can legally keep the rest of the rent for the agreed period, unless the contract has a particular early termination clause. Since there is no standard law on early tenancy contract termination in Dubai, the tenant must request an early contract termination clause to be introduced into the contract with a notice period and penalty outlined in it in an event of early contract cancelation.
Thus, if the tenant decides to terminate the contract early, they have to notify the landlord at least 90 days before actual moving out. The penalty usually takes one or two months’ worth of rent that has to be paid to the property owner. But, it’s crucial to understand that RERA doesn’t have any regulation for early contract termination, so any refund of prepaid rent or penalty depends solely on the intention and will of the landlord. In other words, having a contract that clearly outlines all the terms and conditions and building trust in the landlord-tenant relationship is imprortant.
According to the Dubai Tenancy Law, the property owner can demand tenant eviction before the tenancy period expires. But, there are certain circumstances that have to be in place.
That is, according to Article 25 of Law No. 26 of 2007 that was later amended by Law No. 33 of 2008, there are particular cases, in which the landlord can request the tenant to vacate the property before their contract expires. These cases include the following:
RERA also specifies that the landlord is also able to request eviction of the tenant after contract expiration even if the latter wants to prolong the stay in the following cases:
These cases require the landlord to provide the tenant with written notification via a public notary or mail 12 months before.
According to Article 4 of the Dubai Tenancy Law, having a written rental agreement registered with RERA is obligatory. Without a formal tenancy contract, none of the parties is legally protected by RERA. In the absence of the rental contract, the RDSC and other relevant agencies can’t intervene in any dispute that might arise from rental relations that aren’t registered with RERA, since they are not considered a legally binding agreement.
In a landlord-tenant relationship, the landlord holds the right of property ownership and the tenant obtains the right to employ the property by paying the agreed rental value to the landlord. It is expected that the tenant will look after the property, while the landlord will take care of maintenance matters as specified in the contract. It’s crucial that both parties maintain good relationships that evolve into mutual trust. This is especially important in the event of the occurrence of any issues.
The rental market is transparent due to the Tenancy Law. Being the unified rental contract system, Ejari certifies tenancy agreements and contracts between landlords and tenants. The system basically ensures that all private tenancy agreements are converted into legally binding contracts and structured by the form that is approved by the UAE government. Tenancy Law clearly outlines the responsibilities and obligations for both tenants and landlords, while providing dispute resolution, thus protecting each party’s rights.
The landlord is not allowed to enter a rental estate without preliminarily getting permission from the tenant unless it is outlined in an access clause in the contract. The contract should clearly outline the rules and regulations regarding the visiting of the rented estate while it’s occupied by the tenant.
In case the landlord decides to sell the property, they should get the tenant’s permission to show it to prospective buyers. If the tenant grants their permission, the landlord is obliged to notify them 24 hours in advance about their visit. The landlord has to be present at the property during the viewing.
The tenant doesn’t get any special privileges or rights for simply renting a property for a long time. The rights and obligations they have are the same as those of any other tenant in Dubai.
Such things as an unreasonable security deposit reduction or unreasonable rent raise, among other things, can lead to conflict between the landlord and the tenant.
All rent raises must comply with the RERA Rental Increase Calculator parameters. In case the tenant doesn’t agree to the terms of the raise and it seems impossible to achieve an understanding with the landlord, they should address the RDSC for assistance.
Filing a rental dispute isn’t free. The costs are as follows:
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