Move out: K. Nazia, left, Shahwanaz, their son Salim and Abdul H. Khan with the eviction notice Image Credit: Xpress/Abdel-Krim Kallouche

Dubai: Tenants in a Silicon Oasis building are peeved at being asked to vacate their apartments when their lease ends.

Tenants were given a notice this October by the building management company saying they wanted the premises for their own use.

Existing laws state property owners must give tenants 12 month advance notice to vacate before expiry of lease. Shahram Safai, partner of law firm Afridi & Angell, told XPRESS: “The 12-month notice period is to be given even in case the property has been sold off by the existing owner.”

Tenants suspect the landlord’s intentions as there are many unoccupied flats in the building. “The building has several vacant apartments so why are they asking us to move out? It is clear that the landlord wants to give out the apartments for higher rates,” said one tenant.

Abdul Hasib Khan, who has been a tenant in Axis 5 building in Silicon Oasis since 2010, told XPRESS the same thing. “The landlord actually wants to lease the apartments to new tenants because he wants to gain from the hike in rentals.”

Tenants say the short notice has put them in a difficult spot as rentals everywhere have gone up by at least 25-35 per cent and they may not be able to afford an apartment in Dubai at current rates. “Though our rent was hiked 10 per cent last year, it was still affordable. Now we have shell out much more for another apartment as the notice period is too short for us to find a house within our budget.”

Nazia, who moved in from Al Nahda said: “We moved into Silicon Oasis just six months ago as my child got admission to a school here. Now we have to look for another apartment. The rents were relatively lower when we moved here and it’s going to be difficult to find an apartment at this rate. It’s a major financial burden on us as we also have to incur expenses on packing, moving all over again.”

“The property management firm says they have sold off the unit, but then why has the new owner not communicated with us?” said Shanawaz, her husband.

Agents say landlords do this to circumvent the law on annual rent increase to gain higher rentals. 
“We have come across many such cases in areas like Silicon Oasis, Sports City, International City. Landlords want to rent out apartments at current market rates. Since the law does not allow them to hike rents beyond a certain percentage they resort to such measures,” said a property agent.

What the law says:

According to Hassan Elhais, Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultancy: Law No. 26/2007 states a landlord can ask a tenant to vacate the unit for personal use. However, a legal notice has to be given 12 months in advance from the end of the lease period.