x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Dubai landlord issues eviction notice while tenant’s Rera case is open

Mario Volpi advises a tenant with two gripes with her landlord: an increase in rent higher than the Rera recommended rise and an eviction notice.

A tenant is entitled to compensation if the landlord relets the property. Jeff Topping / The National
A tenant is entitled to compensation if the landlord relets the property. Jeff Topping / The National

I have some queries regarding a rental dispute I currently have with my landlord. The landlord has given less than 90 days notice to increase rent by more than what is allowed by Rera. We have filed an official complaint with Rera and it is currently still in process. The landlord has just sent me an eviction notice (while the case is still open with Rera). It is just a letter (not via registered email or notary public) issued by his office. I have signed it but wrote that it is not official as it is not via proper channels. The entire building is owned by the same landlord so I am confident that he is not moving in for personal use. My questions are: How does the eviction notice affect the ongoing case at Rera related to the rental increase? Is it true that the landlord needs to prove that he doesn’t have any other property besides mine to move in otherwise he cannot evict me? In case I prove that he rented the property once I am out, what kind of costs should he cover (besides moving costs) and shall I take it to courts again? MI, Dubai

Your complaint lodged with Rera is a separate issue and should not have anything to do with the landlord’s 12-month eviction notice, if it has been served in the correct manner for the proper reasons.

Your email states that it was just a letter sent from the landlords’ office so I can confirm that it is not legal or enforceable. If the reason for your eviction is due to the landlord or his next of kin of first degree wanting to move back into the property, then he is not allowed to relet the property to any other tenant for a period of two years from your eviction date, unless the court deems otherwise. When using this reason for eviction, he does have to prove that he does not own another suitable alternative property he could use. If he does relet after your eviction, you would be entitled to compensation after filling a case at the rental committee. Typically your compensation would include removal costs, fees, etc, but the exact amount of dues could only be determined subject to individual cases and the decision of the court judge at the time. Your landlord is in violation of the rental laws, so if you desire to open a case at the rental committee, it is my view that you should win any case brought against him.

I own an apartment in Dubai Marina and would like the tenant to vacate so that I can sell the property. I sent him an email asking him for all his documents to do the Ejari and then take it to the public notary and notify him. To my surprise he decided to ignore my emails and calls. The current tenancy contact is expiring and I want to comply with the Dubai law and send him the 12 months’ eviction letter notice to have the flat vacated. Will it be legal and in conformance with Dubai law if I just send him a notification letter through registered mail as I don’t have the required documents for the public notary notification? MAM, Dubai

Presumably when you rented the property in the first place you would have received the necessary documentations from the tenant at that time, or if you used the services of an estate agent then they would have the documents you need at hand. If, however, you are still being ignored by the tenant and you genuinely do not have the documents, then sending via registered mail the 12 months’ notification to vacate for reasons of wishing to sell your property is legal. Sales agents will need access to the property for viewing purposes, so if your tenant is being difficult by ignoring calls or emails, you may have a battle on your hands when trying to make appointments for viewings.

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

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

Please note that Mario Volpi is now on holiday and cannot answer any questions until his return on August 20

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