A reader from Dubai asks: The current rental property we (my husband, myself and my baby) are residing at is in the name of my husband's brother who relocated to the UK two years ago - since then we have continued to stay there but the contract name was not changed. Recently we wanted to apply for a housemaid's visa and we approached the property owner to change the name so that we could utilise the tenancy contract for sponsoring the maid's visa since that is one of the requirements. Initially he suggested that we could just get him an authority letter from my husband's brother but later mentioned it would be a complete contract change in which case the rent would be as per that as for a new tenant (the house has been rented by our family since 2001).

We have now dropped the idea of hiring a maid from India because of the increased rent situation, however we would like to know the following:

Is there a procedure of the transfer of a name without an increase in rent (maybe with an authority letter from my brother-in-law) or does it have to be a new contract?

In case it is a new contract, how much of a rent increase do we expect - would it be a five per cent annual increase?

Can we be asked to vacate the flat since it is in someone else's name (although it's a blood relationship)?

Do we have the same rights as that of a tenant?

Also I read on the internet that the contract signed included all facilities like a car park, pool etc, however we have now been given a separate notice for paid parking at an additional Dh2,000 for the year.

We have already signed a contract for the current year but cannot voice our opinions as we are unclear as to the above points, your advice would be of great help.

I would like to clarify to the questioner that if the tenancy contract is in the name of a certain person, then this person is the only one who shall have the right to use this contract in addition to first-degree relatives such as wives sons, parents and brothers of the tenant if they are under his custody. As for the contract mentioned by the questioner related to her husband's brother, neither she nor her husband is entitled to stick by the same, and by law, they are not entitled to occupy the property under this contract. Therefore, the landlord has the right to ask them to vacate the property and he is not obliged to transfer the tenancy contract to the tenant's brother's name or his wife. In case the landlord agrees to transfer the tenancy contract, the landlord may request the rent he deems appropriate, as he will sign a new tenancy contract along with new terms.

Questions answered by Advocate Mohammad Ebrahim Al Shaiba of Al Bahar Advocates and Legal Consultants.