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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 October 2018

Homefront: 'Can I evict a tenant in 90 days to move in with my family?'

The Dubai resident recently purchased a new villa and wants to make it their home as soon as possible

The buyer said the real estate agent never alerted them about a 12-month eviction notice. Antonie Robertson / The National 
The buyer said the real estate agent never alerted them about a 12-month eviction notice. Antonie Robertson / The National 

We recently purchased our first property in Dubai. We are very excited and eager to move into our villa and make it our home, but it is currently tenanted. I have read the 2007 Dubai Land Department’s tenancy contract and under Article 25(2) point d) it states that we need only to give 90 days notice if we fall into one of the categories listed below:

• The landlord wishes to demolish the property;

• The property requires renovation or maintenance which cannot be carried out during occupation;

• The landlord requires the property for its personal use or by immediate next of kin; and/or

• The landlord wishes to sell the property.

Our current tenancy expires on November 9 and we have no other place to go. This is wholly the reason why we purchased property so that we no longer had to rent and could be owner-occupiers. Meanwhile the current tenants' contract expires on October 19.

We went to the Real Estate Regulatory Authority in Deira yesterday to get advice on how best to give the tenants their 90-day notice as stated in the new tenancy contract. There, we were told it had to be twelve months notice. Is this correct? If I read the contract it states in black and white that it is 90 days? Do we need to give the tenant 12 months' notice or are we able to issue them with an eviction notice of just 90 days. The agent that sold us the property did not let us know about the 12-month eviction notice and we thought we could move in around mid-October when the current tenants contract expired. Now I'm worried about where we are going to live. With a young baby and a five-year-old we need to make the moving process as seamless as possible. LR, Dubai

The law you are referring to is Law 26 of 2007 - which governs the relationship between landlords and tenants in Dubai - was amended and updated by Law 33 of 2008. Under this amended law, you do indeed have to give 12-months notice to the existing tenant to gain possession of your property for your own use.

The written notification has to be sent upon expiry of the current tenancy contract giving the 12- month notice before demanding eviction. This notice must be sent either by registered mail or notary public but is often presented in both ways.

Under article 25 of this amended law, the only way to demand eviction of tenant prior to expiration of the contract is as follows:

a. If the tenant fails to pay the rent within 30 days of the landlord’s notification for payment, unless parties agreed otherwise;

b. If the tenant subleases the property without the landlord’s written approval;

c. If the tenant uses, or allows others to use, the property for illegal or immoral activities;

d. If the leased property is a commercial shop and the tenant left without legal reason for 30 continual days or 90 non-continual days in one year; unless the parties agreed otherwise;

e. If the tenant causes changes that endangers the safety of the property in a way that it cannot be restored to its original condition;

f. If the tenant uses the property for purposes other than what it was leased for;

g. If the property is in danger of collapse, provided that the landlord provides a technical report issued or accredited by the Dubai Municipality;

h. If the tenant fails to observe legal obligations or tenancy contract conditions within 30 days from the date of notification by the landlord;

i. If development requirements in the emirate require demolition and reconstruction of the property in accordance with government authorities' instructions;

For all of the above cases, the written notification for eviction has to be sent via notary public or registered mail.

Unfortunately for you, the law appears to be on the side of the tenant. The only way I can see you gaining early possession of your property legitimately, would be to send the 12 months notice as stated, or if you can come to some sort of an agreement with the current tenant to persuade them to vacate by mutual agreement prior to these 12 months.

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Read more:

Homefront: 'My landlord wants his villa repainted four months after I moved out'

Homefront: 'What happens to a tenant's personal possessions if they abscond from the UAE?'

Homefront: 'How do I get my rent refunded if I move out early?'

Homefront: 'How do I evict a tenant who is behind on the rent?'

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Mario Volpi is the sales and leasing manager at Engel & Volkers. He has worked in the property sector for 34 years in London and Dubai

The opinions expressed do not constitute legal advice and are provided for information only. Please send any questions to mario.volpi@engelvoelkers.com