x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Multiple occupancy of Dubai residential property not permitted

Owner of a one-bedroom apartment in International City wants to end tenancy agreement immediately after tenant breaches contract.

I own a one-bedroom apartment in International City that was rented to a family last October. When I visited my apartment last month, I found 12 male labourers living there. I took photos of my apartment and contacted the original tenant, who apologised and promised to remove these people. I feel very uncomfortable and want to end the tenancy immediately since I shall be penalised if the authorities find out. Is there any legal way to evict these people? KS Dubai

Not only is the official tenant breaking the terms of the lease, but he is also breaking the law as multiple occupancy of a residential property is not permitted. Article 24 of Dubai tenancy law states that the “Landlord may demand eviction of tenant before expiry of tenancy period in the following cases ... If tenant subleases the property, or part thereof, without landlord’s written approval and in such case eviction shall be applicable to the tenant and the subtenant, and the subtenant’s right to refer to tenant for compensation shall be reserved ...” You are therefore fully within your rights to insist that the occupants leave immediately and to refuse the original tenant taking up residence. I suggest you serve notice on both the tenant and the occupants, in writing, and that if they refuse to comply,then you should take your case to the rental committee.

I have been served with a letter from my landlord stating that he wants to sell the property and will not renew the contract when it is up for renewal in December. All this is, as far as I can see, legal and it looks like my wife and I have to find a new place. There is just one thing. In the law it states that the letter has to be by “public notary” or “registered mail”. I asked the estate agent about this and she said I was correct, but if we insisted on getting it registered, it would be impossible for us to stay in the apartment, even if the new owner was interested in negotiating a suitable rent with us. We would really like to stay, so is this correct? And in case we sign an unregistered letter, what rights do we have if he does not sell the apartment and rents it out to someone else (for a higher rate)? DJ Dubai

You are quite right in believing that an eviction notice must be delivered by registered post or public notary for it to be legal. If the letter has just been delivered to you, you do not have to vacate the property in December as the landlord is obliged to give you 12 months’ notice from the expiry date of your current contract – as per Article 24 (2). This means that you do not have to move out until December 2015. Furthermore, according to Article 26, should your landlord not sell the property or move into it himself, he must not re-let it for a period of two years. If he does not comply then the tenant can seek compensation.

I own a flat in the UK and ever since I moved to the UAE in April last year there has been a tenant. After paying a percentage to the agent, who handles the arrangement, I receive a monthly income of £625 (Dh3,829) that is credited to my UK bank account. I have now been told by the agent that I have to pay tax on the accrued income even though I am no longer a UK resident. Is this correct? JM, Abu Dhabi

Even if someone is not a UK resident, for tax purposes there can still be a liability to UK income tax on any income that arises in the UK, such as rental income. That said, everyone has a Personal Allowance, currently £9,440 in the 2013-14 tax year (increasing to £10,000 from April 6 2014). Any UK income below that level will not be taxed. You may have to complete a tax return but that should just be a formality.

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

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