x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Homefront: the only situations a Dubai landlord can evict you

Property expert Mario Volpi solves two readers' worries about being evicted from their homes.

The Springs villas in Dubai. A reader living on the development has issue with an eviction notice. Pawan Singh / The National
The Springs villas in Dubai. A reader living on the development has issue with an eviction notice. Pawan Singh / The National

I live in the Springs and my landlord informed me in November that she wants me to evict the house in March 2014 (when my current contract expires). She has also served me a letter from Dubai court with the same. Before that I was in the process of registering for Ejari but she refused to give me the title deed until I signed a paper back dated to February 2013 saying that I was informed that she does not want to renew the contract, I refused to sign this paper until she puts the correct date on it. Does she have the right to do that? Because from what I understood she should inform me a year in advance that she is planning on evicting me. If she doesn’t, can you please explain to me what the procedure is if I want to fight this and stay in the house. RR, Dubai.

It never ceases to amaze me how inventive landlords are becoming in their quest to evict their tenants just so that they can get a higher rent when they go back into the “open market”. The law however is very clear in what is permissible by a landlord and what is not.

The landlord can only request you to move out under certain situations:

1. If the property requires extensive modernisation that would mean one couldn’t possibly remain in the property during these renovations.

2. If the property requires demolition.

In both of these two cases, the landlord would also have sought documentation supporting this from Dubai Municipality.

3. If the landlord or her next of kin of first degree wanted to move in. In this case she would also have to prove she did not also own a similar alternative property.

4. If the landlord wishes to sell.

In both of these last two cases she would have to give you your statutory 12 months’ notice period in the form of a notarised document that was delivered to you via registered post (couriered).

Only for the above four reasons can your landlord request your removal from the property.

If she says she wants to evict you under point three but then subsequently you find out that she has not moved in but actually relet the property, this would not be allowed by law for a period of two years from the date you vacated and if this was the case you would then be entitled to compensation via the rent committee.

My lease is up this month. My landlord told me in January 2013 that he is planning to sell his property. Then he gave me a letter which says the lease will not be renewed next year and that he is giving me a 12- month notice, but the letter doesn’t say anything about wanting to sell the property. If he tells me next January that he wants to sell, then would I be within my rights to ask him for a proper letter stating this, sent to be by registered mail? (I’m happy for him to backdate it) If I vacate and he does not sell, then can I ask for compensation? If so, then how will I know if he has sold the unit or not? How much time do I legally need to give him to sell the property before I can take things further? What if he says he tried to sell but nobody bought? HP, Dubai


Your landlord has to give you 12 months’ notice to vacate should he want to sell the property. This notification should be notarised and sent to you via registered post. You do not have to vacate the property until it has been sold, so no compensation is required. You will however have an opportunity to discuss potentially staying on with the new owner. If the new owner has bought the property to live in you will have to vacate as long as you have had at least 12 months’ notice.

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