x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Keren Bobker: Dubai landlord wants to remove tenant – but no contract has been signed

RK wants to move into the studio apartment he bought, but the sitting tenant did not sign a renewal with the previous owner and wants 12-months notice to move out. Keren Bobker has the answer.

I bought a studio apartment with a sitting tenant and the agency informed me that they have an “eviction letter” for the tenancy for 30/8/2013 and that the tenant has not signed a renewal with the old owner. I have not received anything in writing about the tenant during my whole procedure, but now the property is owned by me with a tenant without any contract. Now, I want to move into that apartment but the tenant is refusing to vacate. He is asking me to give him a legal notice of 12 months and give a new contract. But I just want to move in within three months. Is there any rule which supports the landlord? R K, Dubai

In this situation it would have been wise to have requested copies of all the relevant paperwork before completion of the purchase, but I assume that RK did not employ a lawyer. Unless a copy of the eviction notice can be produced it will not be possible to get the tenant to leave and in virtually all circumstances a tenant must be provided with 12 months’ notice to end the tenancy. This must be in writing and delivered either via public notary or registered mail and must be from the end of a tenancy year. The only exceptions include if rent is unpaid or the tenant is using the property for illegal or commercial purposes. If a new contract was not arranged at the last renewal date, this being the responsibility of the landlord, it will be assumed that the previous terms will apply. The landlord, whether he is the owner of the property at the time of renewal or subsequently, should provide a proper contract that should be registered under the Ejari rules. Essentially if someone buys a property that has a tenant, they take them on under the terms of any existing agreements.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai. Contact her at keren@holbornassets.com