Can Dubai resident stay in property beyond eviction notice?

I rent a house in Jumeirah Park and was given a legal eviction notice one day after renewing my tenancy contract. This was after refusing the requested rent increase by the landlord. The reason for the eviction is the landlord’s desire to sell the house. I can appreciate that, and I was under the impression that I indeed had to leave 12 months after the date of the legal notice. Now the market has gone into decline and the landlord has not been able or willing to sell the house. It is now almost four months past the “eviction notice date” and I have been paying rent each month. My landlord still wants to sell the property and therefore states that he does not want to sign any agreement that renews the lease. So am I now living in the house without any legal basis, or has the lease automatically been renewed? And can the landlord claim to have an eviction note in place for an unlimited amount of time? Or is there an expiration period of sorts? TM, Dubai

Let me try and put your mind at rest. My understanding is that these notices are not “open ended” and that there has to be a beginning, middle and end. The first thing to point out is that the 12 months’ notification to vacate for reason of selling has to be served to you upon expiry of your tenancy agreement for it to be legal. Given your landlord served this notice after the new tenancy had started, even just one day later, I can confirm that, as per the law, it is not legal. So even if he sells the property, for you to be evicted legally, he would have to wait until just before it expires again (next year) to serve you your new 12 months’ notice to vacate. This notification would also have to be sent either via notary public or registered mail. The other most important point is to confirm that a tenancy agreement does automatically renew so even though he refuses to sign a new agreement, legally a new agreement on the same terms and conditions as before is in fact in place. Given the above, you are now armed with new information to request the owner complies with the law and fulfils his responsibilities to you as his landlord.

I was about to start apartment hunting as I was issued a legal notice last year to vacate my apartment, but I have just received a 90-day renewal notice from the agent. Is the legal notice still valid now that they have sent me a renewal email? SH, Dubai


If the agent (presumably the landlord’s representative), has now sent you the 90-day notice to renew, it is possible that the owner has changed his mind and does now not require you to vacate. I would check with them the status of this for verification. I would like to point out, however, that the legal notice to vacate does have to fulfil certain criteria for it to be legal in the first place.

I will explain: This notification has to be served either via notary public or registered mail. It must state the reason for your eviction and this can only be one of four reasons:

1. If the property requires demolition

2. If the property requires extensive refurbishment that would prevent you from living there while the works were carried out.

3. If the owner wishes to take back the property for his own use or use of his immediate next of kin – for this reason he will also have to prove he doesn’t have any alternative suitable property.

4. If he wishes to sell.

It is really important to state that this notification to vacate for one of the reasons given above has to be served upon expiry of the tenancy contract. If it was served at any other time, then as per law 33 of 2008 article 25 (2) it is not valid.

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.

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