x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Homefront: Rental contract remains the same despite sale of Dubai property

If you want to extend or have any of the contract altered in the new agreement you must give 90 days’ notice before the expiry of the previous agreement.

I read your recent column in The National (we are colleagues of sorts) and found it very informative. I find myself in a similar position to another tenant you helped. In July last year there was a change of ownership of my apartment, where I have lived with my family for the past four years. I signed a contract which expires in February, which was non-negotiable and at the discretion of the landlord etc. At the time, we intended to leave the property in February on the expiry of the lease, but times have changed and now we want to stay on for another five or six months. The new landlord did not give us 12 months’ notice to quit in writing, as you say is required by law. Do you think we have a case for staying on for a short time? Should we go to Rera to get a ruling? FK, Dubai

The old rental contracts that say “non-negotiable” and “at the discretion of the landlord only” are not recognised by the law. If you want to extend or have any of the contract altered in the new agreement you must give 90 days’ notice before the expiry of the previous agreement. Clearly, this period has been missed given that February 2014 is the proposed leaving date. I assume you signed your contract in February 2013 for it to expire this month. I also assume you were informed that the owner has sold the property as you say in July 2013. Your contract would have remained the same and nothing would have changed apart from the landlord. You have the right to extend your agreement for another year but no changes are allowed due to the passing of the 90 day notice period. As you do not want to stay for the full year, perhaps you can negotiate with your new landlord to stay for a shorter term. Legally you should either extend for one year or vacate this month. The other option is down to your negotiation skills.

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