Question: Two months ago, I rented a villa from a real estate office, and I received the lease contract and also paid the first instalment of the rent. However, upon inspecting the villa, it became clear to me that the villa was not ready for housing, and the electricity and water were also cut off. Accordingly, I asked the real estate office to cancel the lease and return the rent, but the real estate office refused and asked me to give them another month to prepare the villa. My question is, do I legally have the right to file a rental lawsuit to terminate the lease and recover the amount I paid? What are the reasons under which the lease contract can be terminated according to the rental law in Dubai? Please advise.
Answer: You have the right to file a rental lawsuit to terminate the lease and recover the amounts you paid because you have the right to benefit from the property you rented. As per Article 15 of the Law No. 33 of 2008 (Amending Law No. 26 Of 2007), the landlord is bound to hand over the property in good condition, which allows the tenant full use as stated in the tenancy Contract.
As per Article 772 of the Civil Transactions Law, the lessor shall warrant the lessee all defects in the leased property that may prevent or considerably reduce the enjoyment thereof, but he does not warrant the defects that are customarily tolerated. If, as a result of such defect, the lessee is deprived of the enjoyment of the leased property, he may ask termination or reduction of the rent, together with the payment of damages for the prejudice sustained by him.
Reasons to terminate the lease contract by the landlord differs than those by the tenant.
The tenant has the right to terminate the contract in cases mentioned in Article 783 of the Civil Transaction Law:
1. If its execution shall lead to an evident detriment to the person or property, whether his own or of any of his subordinates, in the enjoyment of the rent property.
2. If anything occurs that prevents the implementation of the contract
Moreover, the complete loss of enjoyment of the leased property shall release the lessee from paying the rent as of the occurrence of such loss. In case the loss is partial but in a manner that may affect the full enjoyment, the lessee is entitled to terminate the contract and he shall be relieved from paying the rent as of the termination date.
Should the lessor repair the leased property prior to the termination, the lessee shall only be relieved from paying the rent to the extent of the lost enjoyment but he shall not be entitled to terminate the contract (as per Article 781).