Can Dubai landlord send eviction notice mid-way through tenancy agreement?

We are renting a villa in Jumeirah Park in Dubai. Our contract is due for renewal in April this year. However, last year, the landlord gave us a tenancy contract that stated ‘one year only-not renewable’. We have signed the ’non renewable’ tenancy contract knowing that it cannot be enforced by the landlord. A bit later in the same year, on July 23, a legal notice was brought to the house which was received by our domestic helper. The legal notice stated that the landlord wants to sell the property and shall not renew our tenancy contract, giving us 12 months notice from date of the legal notice. We did not sign for reception of this legal notice because we were on holiday at that time. The questions are: can we ignore the legal notice since we did not sign that we have received it? Is there anything we can do to stay or must we vacate on July 23? Until now the landlord has not taken any action to try to sell the house. And he has several other properties in Dubai. JVP, Dubai

Irrespective of whether you have signed a contract with clauses that state ‘non renewable’, you will be entitled to renew the tenancy contract as these clauses are not valid and against the law. Given your information, I don’t believe you will have to vacate in July as law 33 of 2008 states that the landlord may demand eviction of the tenant upon expiry of the tenancy contract limited to the reasons given, selling being one of them.

For the purpose of this clause, the landlord must notify the tenant with reasons for eviction at least 12 months before the determined date of eviction subject that such notice be sent through notary republic or registered mail. So to interpret this;


1. Eviction can only happen upon expiry of tenancy contract not in the middle of it.

2. 12 months notice must be given at least 12 months before eviction date (which can only be expiry of the tenancy contract)

I rented a studio in 2014 and want to renew this year. However, the landlord had sent me an email to vacate the flat [when the contract expires] as she wants to sell it. Didn’t she need me to send this notice 12 months ago and also as a notarised court order? I suspect she wants to increase the rent which as per RERA index can go up by 5 per cent. However, the prevalent rate is 20 per cent higher. SS, Dubai

Sending an email as notification to vacate for reasons of selling is not the prescribed way of notifying the tenant. The landlord has to send the notice via notary public or registered mail at the time of tenancy renewal and then it has to be for a notice period of no less than 12 months. The vacant market rate is not used to determine the rate when a tenant is already in situ the rate is determined via the rental calculator based on the average rate. You will have to explain to the landlord that the law states she can sell the property but for you to vacate will require her to go through the correct procedure as described.

I was served notice 12 months ago as the landlord wants to move in with his family. We were in Al Furjan. We have moved back to Mirdif for the same rent of Dh130,000. I want to take on the landlord in front of the Rental Dispute Committee. The agreement is ejari registered. What can I expect in terms of compensation? CM, Dubai

You obviously don’t believe that your landlord was or is going to move into the property for himself and family so I suggest that before you open a case against him you gather enough evidence that he has in fact gone on to relet the property rather than move in himself.

As you know the law states that if a tenant is evicted in favour of an owner who wishes to move into the property for himself or immediate next of kin he cannot relet the property for a period of two years from the date the tenant was evicted.

In terms of compensation and assuming the rental committee find in your favour, you should be awarded the rental amount and possibly other expenses such as fees and removal costs. There are unfortunately no test cases published to be able to accurately state exactly what will be given as compensation.

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 mario@oceanviewdubai.com

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

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