Dubai: Are you currently renewing your rental contract, or is the renewal coming up soon? If so, can your landlord increase the rent during the renewal process without giving you notice and ask you to vacate if you cannot pay the increased rental fee? What is your right as a tenant as per the UAE law, and are you allowed to take action? A Gulf News reader facing the issue raised this query.
She asked: “My contract expires on December 31 every year. A week before the expiry of my agreement, when I called my landlord asking about the renewal, he said he would increase the rent as per the current market rates. I was shocked because I was not expecting this and he did not notify me. He then said if I am unable to pay the rent, then I must vacate the premises. As per our contract, it clearly says, ‘The landlord should give written notice to the tenant three months before any rental increase according to the Dubai Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA)’.
“My landlord did not give me any such notice in writing or verbally. I emailed him yesterday asking to proceed with the renewal, to which he replied that renewal would only be at increased rent, which is not acceptable to me and so I should vacate the premises as soon as possible. He is also citing repair work as a secondary reason. However, the repair is just minor maintenance which does not require vacating the property. Is this allowed? I am not in a situation to look for another home nor pay a higher rent. What are my rights and what I can do in such a situation? I am currently on day 1 of staying here without a renewed contract.”
Gulf News raised the query with Mohamed Elmasry, an associate at Alsuwaidi and Company Advocates and Legal Consultants. Elmasry highlighted Article 6 and 14 of ‘Dubai Law No. 26 of 2007 Regulating Relations between the landlord and tenant in the Emirate of Dubai’ for this issue. He said that Article 14 of the law stipulates that if there are any amendments to the lease contract, the landlord must inform his tenants ahead of time.
“If either party to the lease contract desires to amend any terms, according to Article 14, he shall notify the other party thereof not less than 90 days before the expiry date, unless both parties agreed otherwise,” Elmasry added.
If either party to the lease contract desires to amend any terms, according to Article 14, he shall notify the other party thereof not less than 90 days before the expiry date, unless both parties agreed otherwise.
He also highlighted Article 6 of the same law, which states: “If the tenant continues to occupy the property despite the expiry of the lease contract without any objection from the landlord, the contract shall be renewed for a similar period or for one year, whichever is less with the same remaining terms of the contract.”
Is my landlord allowed to evict me?
“The landlord has no right to increase the rent if he did not inform the tenant three months before the expiry date of the contract. Accordingly, the current lease contract will be automatically renewed with the same terms and conditions,” Elmasry said.
He also spoke about the possible steps a tenant can take in such a situation.
“The tenant may either approach the Dubai Land Department’s Rental Dispute Settlement Centre (RDC) and deposit the rent to the RDC through an ‘offer and deposit file’ service, or they can file a ‘Renewal of lease contract’ case to renew the tenancy contract with the same terms and conditions of the old lease contract,” he said.
How to reach the Rental Dispute Settlement Centre (RDC)
Visit - Dubai Land Department, Baniyas Road, Deira.
You can also call the RDC customer service number on 8004488, Monday to Friday, 7.30am to 4.30pm