Dubai: Is subletting legal in Dubai? And if so, what are the procedures you need to follow to sub lease a part of your home to someone else? These were the questions raised by a Gulf News reader.
He wrote in to Gulf News, asking: “I am living in Dubai in a two-bedroom apartment. My family moved back to India a few months ago, and I now have a spare bedroom. I do not wish to move out of the apartment, as we like it a lot and my family may return to the UAE to join me later. However, in the meantime, a friend of mine wanted to move in and said that he would pay the rent for the one room in which he will be living. I wanted to know if it is legal for me to let my friend live with me under this arrangement. I have the Ejari under my name, do I need to apply for a permit? If yes, what is the process and will it be expensive? Please advise.”
Gulf News raised the query with Mohamed Gamal, Legal Adviser at Kaden Boriss Legal Consultants Dubai, who said that the issue of subletting or subleasing was governed by Dubai’s Tenancy Law No. 33 of 2008. Articles 15 to 25 of the law regulate the obligations of the lessor (the landlord) and the lessee (the tenant) and cases of eviction.
“Article 18 of the law stipulates that the landlord is obligated to give the tenant the necessary approvals to make any procedure related to the housing, which includes the approval for cases such as subletting,” Gamal told Gulf News.
“As for the obligations of the main tenant, Article 21 stipulates that according to the official documented lease contract, there must be a commitment not to make any changes in the property or renovations without the approval of the lessor,” he added.
The landlord is obligated to give the tenant the necessary approvals to make any procedure related to the housing, which includes the approval for cases such as subletting.
So, unless provisions have been mentioned in your main contract, you would need to separately request for a written approval from your landlord before you decide to sublet your apartment to a third party.
Subletting without approval can get you evicted
The law also lays down the circumstances in which the landlord may demand eviction of the tenant before the tenancy period expires. These circumstances include:
• If the tenant subleases the property, or part of it, without the landlord’s written approval, in such case eviction shall be applicable to the tenant and the subtenant. In such cases, the subtenant’s rights for compensation are reserved and would need to be fulfilled by the tenant.
• If tenant uses, or allows others to use, the property for illegal or immoral activities.
Precautions when you sublet
Apart from ensuring that you have a written consent from your landlord, it is also important to ensure that you do not make any changes to the residential unit, without the approval of the lessor.
“In the event that the lease period ends, the tenant must hand over the unit in the state he received it in, at the time of signing the lease contract,” Gamal said.
In Dubai, home owners and tenants can also put up their apartments on the vacation rental website by registering their unit as a ‘holiday home’. This allows you to list your residential unit on short-term rental websites like AirBnB.