I have rented out my property in JLT since late March 2014. Since the tenant did not have a UAE residence visa at the time of leasing, he asked me to prepare a tenancy contract in his friend’s name. We made a written agreement that once his visa process was completed after three months, we would transfer the tenancy contract, with the same terms and conditions, into his name. However, he failed to secure a visa and requested a three-month extension on the agreement which I agreed to. I have since called him asking to transfer the contract but he has failed to supply the necessary documents. Then two months ago I sent him an email demanding a rent increase in line with RERA regulation and also asked him to confirm in writing if he wishes to renew the contract (I believe it is mandatory that the tenant notifies me 60 days prior to contact expiry if he wishes to renew the contract). Despite frequent reminders, he has failed to confirm if he is renewing or vacating the apartment. I have also approached the legal tenant but had no response from him either. He also failed to do Ejari or provide a DEWA bill so that I can do it. I am now confused over who to approach next. RB, Dubai
To get it clear in my mind, the person living in your property is not the official tenant as he still does not have a valid visa and the person on the agreement does not actually live in your property as he is just the friend of the occupant. Both parties need to inform each other 90 days before expiry of the tenancy of any changes to the contract and this obviously means the rent too.
Your occupant is effectively sub letting the property but this is allowed as long as you are informed and in agreement. What is not allowed, is a tenant living in your property without a valid visa. I suggest you inform him that unless he puts his paperwork in order soon, you will have no alternative but to seek eviction via the rent committee. If he is serious about staying, he will comply, if not, he will be requested to leave as I’m sure in this case you would win any case brought in front of the rental committee.
We have been in our rented house in The Lakes since June 2012. The rent we agreed was Dh195,000, paid in one annual cheque. Afterwards the landlord told us that from January 2013 we should pay the community fee of approximately Dh9,000 yearly in two checks. This is written in the contract. Now our landlord has told us he wants to raise the rent. As per RERA, he is allowed to raise it to Dh204,750. We have accepted that, however we have stated that we cannot afford to pay the community fee any longer. Our landlord then offers the rent to be Dh210,000 without the community fee. Where do we stand on this matter as the rent will then be above the RERA guideline. Is it OK for landlords to charge the community fee to the tenants? CL, Dubai
Any changes to a contract have to be communicated by either party giving 90 days notice and then both parties have to be in agreement to the changes.
The landlord is not entitled to any increase other than what is allowed as per the RERA rent calculator. But remember the 90-day notice applies here also. Under normal circumstances the community fee is the landlord’s responsibility but if you have agreed to pay this (as per the contract) then unfortunately this now falls on your shoulders. As long as you have given the statutory 90 days’ notice to alter the contract and explain that you can no longer afford this extra charge, I’m sure the landlord and you can come to some form of agreement. The landlord is not allowed to ask more for the rent than is permitted but I stress again that if the tenant agrees to this figure then the landlord can ask what he wishes. You need to know your rights but it seems to me that the landlord is just approximately halving the cost of the community fee and adding this on to the permissible Rera rental rate (Dh4,500 + Dh204,750) by quoting you Dh210,000 for the rent without the community charge.
I suggest you try to negotiate a better rate with your landlord for the next term.
Mario Volpi is the managing director of Ocean View Real Estate and has worked in the industry in the emirate and in London for the past 30 years. Send any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only. Readers are encouraged to seek appropriate independent legal advice