x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Homefront: no rent cap on property in Dubai International Financial Centre

Property expert Mario Volpi is here to help readers with their property issues.

Dubai International Financial Centre. Omr Mohamed / Reuters
Dubai International Financial Centre. Omr Mohamed / Reuters

I live in Dubai International Financial Centre and my landlord has told me that the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) doesn’t apply in this area and he is free to increase the rent (despite it being within 25 per cent of the average) and also that he only needs to provide me with two months’ eviction notice. I would be grateful if you could confirm whether this is true. PR, Dubai.

Property owners in DIFC are not bound by any regulation from Rera to limit rent increases. The parties’ freedom to contract is considered paramount within the DIFC.

This means that parties are free to agree with certainty in their leases as to how they choose to deal with lease renewals, rent reviews and other issues that may arise within the landlord-tenant relationship.

DIFC’s whole array of laws are underpinned by the general principles of common law which prevail in DIFC. These are adapted to promote fairness within the relationship between landlord and tenant. If you are not happy or cannot agree with what your landlord is suggesting, you are free to file a complaint in DIFC, but there are no regulations to limit a hike in rent. DIFC Courts certainly do hear rental disputes for residential apartments and have done so on several occasions through the Small Claims Tribunal and through the main court.

The system of land registration (including leases) in DIFC is administered by the DIFC Registrar of Real Property and is separate from the land registration system, which includes the Ejari lease registration system, administered by the Dubai Land Department and Rera. The Dubai Rental Committee hears and determines cases relating to leases registered with Rera’s Ejari system but does not include DIFC-registered properties as part of its jurisdiction.

Outside of DIFC, it is Dubai Municipality’s Rental Committee that settles rent disputes – this has no jurisdiction to hear any rental disputes within DIFC. Parties are free, however, to choose the governing law and the forum they deem appropriate for resolving disputes relating to leases within DIFC.

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