x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Abu Dhabi rent increase rules different to those in Dubai

Abu Dhabi tenant hopes a lack of notice from a landlord of a rental increase means the rate will stay the same. Property expert Mario Volpi has the answer to this and other property queries.

Gate Towers on Al Reem Island in Abu Dhabi. Landlords in Abu Dhabi have to give two months' notice of a rent rise in the emirate. Ravindranath K / The National
Gate Towers on Al Reem Island in Abu Dhabi. Landlords in Abu Dhabi have to give two months' notice of a rent rise in the emirate. Ravindranath K / The National

I am currently residing in Abu Dhabi and the rents are increasing as expected. However, my contract expires in May 2014 and the owner has not sent any notification for a rent increase to date. Does this legally imply that he has no authority to increase my rent? MH, Abu Dhabi

Despite the removal of the Abu Dhabi rental cap there are still laws in place that regulate the relationship between landlord and tenant. In Dubai, there is a window of 90 days where both parties need to inform the other of any changes to the contract. In Abu Dhabi, this is 60 days or two months. You do not mention when in May your contract is due but your landlord must give you this notice period to raise the rent.

There is a tenant in the property I intend to buy. The purpose of buying the property for me is to move in. The tenant is a company, and renting it for their employee. The landlord showed me a scanned copy of a letter that the tenant (the company renting the property) sent to him informing him that they do not wish to renew the lease, and specifying an exact date the tenant will vacate. The landlord did not send a letter of his own to the tenant, so we lack the letter that he should have sent with a 12-month notice for intention to sell. He thought that the tenant’s letter was enough. Can I count on the vacating letter that the tenant sent? Or does the tenant have the right to change his mind and not honour that commitment? IK, Dubai

The only proper way a landlord can legally get a tenant to vacate a property is to send a notarised document giving 12 months’ notice. This document can also be delivered via registered mail. The main reasons a landlord may seek eviction from a tenant is either him wishing to sell the property or if he needs it for his own personal use or the use of his immediate next of kin. There are a few other reasons but these two seem to be the most popular. However, in your case the tenant has written a letter by themselves, informing that they do not wish to renew the contract. You have to therefore assume that they will indeed vacate by the date stated in their letter/notification. If they do change their mind and decide not to move out, due to perhaps a change of circumstance, then I am afraid as there was no notarised notification requesting their eviction and giving 12 months’ notice from the previous owner in the first place, you could find that to effect a proper eviction you may have to do this yourself. Therefore the tenant will be allowed to stay for another year.

Does a landlord have to give 12 months’ notice to repossess a property at the end of a contract if they are saying that they are moving their family in? My contract is up in March and I’ve just been emailed by my landlord. OQ, Dubai

If a landlord wishes to repossess his property for the reason of moving in himself or his immediate next of kin then this is permissible by law, provided he gives his tenant a notarised notification and the statutory 12 months’ notice to vacate. Emailed notifications are not regarded as the proper way to notify; registered mail or via notary public only.

Mario Volpi is the managing director of Prestige Real Estate in Dubai (prestigedubai.com). He has 30 years of property industry experience in the emirate and London. Send any questions to mario@prestigedubai.com

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