Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 18 August 2019

Homefront: 'My Abu Dhabi landlord found another tenant while I was on holiday'

UAE resident found out during a trip to the US

When the reader left the country, his employer was handling his new tenancy. Delores Johnson / The National 
When the reader left the country, his employer was handling his new tenancy. Delores Johnson / The National 

I'm currently on holiday in the US and have just been told that my Abu Dhabi landlord has found another tenant. This is after the 60-day notice period. Before going on holiday, I submitted the documents to my company so that they could process the payment with the landlord's agent to continue the tenancy. Now I've received this email saying something different than what I was told before Ieaving the UAE. What should I do next? I am returning shortly and my current contract expires soon. The cheque from my company has already been issued. MF, US

It appears there has been a miscommunication between the landlord's agent and the landlord himself, given your forwarded emails.

Irrespective of this, the landlord cannot ask you to vacate the property without giving you 60 days' notice. As per article 20 (3) of the Tenancy Law: "In the event that either party does not wish to renew the lease or wishes to amend the conditions of the lease, that party shall notify the other in writing two months prior to the expiry of the lease agreement."

The fact that the owner has found someone else to move into the property does not negate his responsibility to you as his tenant.

The timing of all of this is obviously stressful given you have been on holiday but a trip to your landlord's agent to confirm your legal rights should be enough to calm the situation down.

I am new to Dubai and I'm about to move into an apartment. My landlord has told me to sort out the Ejari. What is that exactly and is that my responsibility or the landlord's? MN, Dubai

Ejari, meaning "my rent" in Arabic, is a mandatory registration system initiated by the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera).

It is needed to ensure your tenancy contract is registered on the system for contracts in Dubai. It launched in 2007 under the provisions of Law 26 of 2007.

Ejari is needed in case of any future disputes with the landlord, ensuring all private rental contracts are drafted into legally binding documents and structured in the government approved format. It is designed to maintain fairness between landlords and tenants. You should note you will be unable to renew a residency visa or obtain visas for family members without it.

In the past, it was the responsibility of the landlord to organise but it is now more common for the tenant to carry out the process and the cost was generally always on the tenant.

It is also needed to register and connect your water and electricity with Dewa to your new property. Most government Happiness Centres will provide the Ejari certificate and offer this service at a cost of Dh220.

The documents needed are: Emirates ID and passport with the visa of the tenant, the signed tenancy contract, copy of the landlord’s passport and/or Emirates ID, the title deed of the property and the security deposit receipt.

With all of these documents the Ejari certificate will be issued to you while you wait.

Mario Volpi is the sales and leasing manager at Engel & Volkers. He has worked in the property sector for 35 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

Updated: August 9, 2019 04:02 AM

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