x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Can our Dubai landlord evict us so he and his family can move in?

Homefront expert Mario Volpi explains how the landlord has to prove that he does not own an alternative suitable property.

Villas in Jumeirah Park in Dubai. Mario Volpi helps readers with their property issues.  Pawan Singh / The National
Villas in Jumeirah Park in Dubai. Mario Volpi helps readers with their property issues. Pawan Singh / The National

We have been in our apartment for less than a year and the lease is up on December19.

In September, our landlord’s agent contacted my husband by telephone to ask if we would be renewing our lease. My husband said yes of course as we had discussed being here for two years with the agent and landlord when we originally met with them. The agent said he would send the new paperwork for signing.

Three weeks later, my husband received an email from our landlord stating he was reminding us that the tenancy contract will expire on December 19 and he regrets to inform us that he is not willing to renew the contract with us for another year because his family has moved to Dubai and they need the apartment for his family staying.

He went on to express his apology for this notification even though we had a “gentleman’s” agreement to rent the apartment for two years, and unfortunately he cannot commit to it.

We were absolutely shocked to receive this news and need to find out where we stand. Various articles on the website all seem to contradict each other. It is very confusing. J and AP, Dubai

Thank you very much for your inquiry.

Law 33 of 2008 is very clear as to how the landlord may demand your eviction upon expiry of the tenancy agreement.

A If he wishes to demolish the property for reconstruction or to add new structures that prevent the tenant from enjoying the property as long as licences are obtained.

B If the property requires renovation or comprehensive maintenance that cannot be carried out while the tenant is occupying the property, provided that a technical report is issued by Dubai Municipality or accredited by it to be submitted to this effect.

C If the owner wishes to recover the property for use by him personally or by his next of kin by first degree, provided he proves that he does not own a suitable alternative property for that purpose.

D If the owner of the property wishes to sell the leased property.

In all of the above cases the landlord must notify you, giving at least 12 months’ notice prior to the determined date of eviction as long as the notice has been notarised via a notary public and sent by registered mail.

This means you will not have to vacate the apartment for at least another 12 months.

Most tenancy agreements are for one year at a time only and are renewable at the expiry providing as long as both parties agree. Although you had a “gentleman’s agreement”, circumstances change and it is the written agreement that counts. Remember that if your landlord wants to repossess his property for himself or his immediate next of kin he has to prove that he does not own an alternative suitable property, so before accepting make sure this is the case.

If the landlord does fulfil his obligations correctly as defined by the law then regrettably you will have to move into alternative accommodation but not until the expiry of your statutory 12 months’ notice period.

Mario Volpi is the managing director of Prestige Real Estate in Dubai. He has 29 years’ of property industry experience in the emirate and London. Send any questions to mario@prestigedubai.com