Dubai: Landlords cannot evict tenants without a valid reason if they refuse to accept a rent hike, said a senior official.
"No one can force or threaten a tenant to vacate the house," said Mohammad Ahmad Al Shaikh, Secretary-General of the Dubai Rent Committee. He advised tenants to complain to the rent committee if they face such a situation.
Al Shaikh said that there is a procedure for serving an eviction notice. Explaining, he said, if a landlord serves an eviction notice to tenants in a building on the pretext of maintenance work or intends to demolish an old building, tenants should come to the rent committee if they do not agree.
The rent committee with the help of a Dubai Municipality team inspects the building and then gives its decision. "But enough time is given to tenants to look for another house," he said. Also, priority should be given to the same tenants once the maintenance is over.
He also clarified that tenants will not be evicted if a landlord is using an eviction notice as a threat just to increase rents.
"Tenants rights are protected under the law and they should not hesitate to contact the rent committee in case of disputes," said Al Shaikh, who has adopted an open door policy for every complainant.
"I would suggest to tenants, who get rent increase notices or eviction notices to write letters to their landlords or real estate agents mentioning the new rent law. If they do not agree, then come to us and file a case. We are here to settle disputes," he said.
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, issued a decree on January 1 saying that rent increase "shall not exceed seven per cent of the annual rent of the property".
The new rule applies to all rent contracts that are to be renewed in 2007 on condition that no rent increase was made on that property during 2006.
It means that the tenants, whose rents were increased in 2006, will not face another rent increase in 2007. But those, whose rents were not increased in 2006, can get a rent increase but not more than seven per cent of the annual rent.
Article 2 of the new decree says that no rent increase shall also be made in 2007 on properties whose contracts had already been signed in 2006 with a new tenant. [No increase on rents in 2007 if the contract was signed for the first time with a new tenant 2006].
The previous rule decree capping the rent at maximum 15 per cent ended on December 31, 2006.
Have your say
Has your landlord tried to increase your rent despite the 7 per cent cap? Have you approached the Rent Committee? What action was taken? Tell us at firstname.lastname@example.org or send your comments below.
The seven per cent rent cap is too little too late! Inflation happened because of the increased rents over the past two years and nothing was done about it!
Thank you for the information but it is not so great to have landlords and tenants conflicting - they need us as much we need them.
I sincerely pray that the new cap is put into force in its entirety, specifically the part which states that there should be no increase in 2007 for tenants whose rent was increased in 2006.
After reading the article in Gulf News, I wrote a letter to the landlord informing him that the rent increase was incorrect and unjust. I sincerely hope he agrees. The only thing I am very concerned about is that perhaps he may allow me to see out this year?s contract, but next year he will most probably ask me to move out citing some flimsy reason. What should I do in this case? Since the rent increase issue in Dubai is quite serious, I would suggest that perhaps an online complaint center should be set up at least for two years (till the matter gets normalised / streamlined), and there should be executives who should come in person to the tenants help/rescue immediately.
What's the point when the rents have already gone up so high. A decision three years late.
My rent on a villa in Ajman has increased by 200 per cent!
This comment will sound strange but is true. We had a rent increase in 2006 and again in 2007. However, we decided not to approach the rent committee as our landlord is a gem among other greedy and unreasonable landlords. He still offers the property at very reasonable price and much below the 'exorbitantly hiked market' price. He has never looted us at times when the rentals were not regulated. We perfectly understand that the hike is justified. Every landlord needs to think and act on humanitarian basis. Remember, that the middle class expats don't have much of a choice here, when it comes to a home and his family.
Rules for landlords should be strictly enforced so that if it is found they have increased the rent against rules strict action will be taken against them. Then no property owner s would try and threaten tenants and instead ask them to file a case. Practically nobody has time to go to the committee and also the majority of people are afraid to approach.
Does the tenant get any kind of protection from the rent committee? As normal when ever the tenant complains to the rent committee the following year tenant is forced to vacate. I would hope that if there were any kind of protection for the tenant then nobody would go above the law.
This Decision from the authorities is much needed and very welcome. I expect all these decisions will depend on the cooperation of landlords.
For this year (2007) our landlord increased the rent by 150 per cent. How we can our families survive when our salary has not been increased to reflect the rise in rents?
A very good step taken by authorities as long as it is implemented properly