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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

Good communication will solve any confusion over a rental contract's end date 

A tenant in dispute with her landlord says the 90-day notice period is not listed on her rental agreement.

A rental contract automatically renews unless the tenant or landlord informs the other of any changes. Reem Mohammed / The National
A rental contract automatically renews unless the tenant or landlord informs the other of any changes. Reem Mohammed / The National

I have a question about the interpretation of Article 13 and Article 14 of the Law No. 33 of 2008 regarding "amending some provisions of Law No. 26 of 2007 regulating relationship between landlords and tenants in the emirate of Dubai" (the Rental Law). Am I obliged to give the landlord 90 days' notice, even if the contract expires on a specific day? Is this how the term "amend" used in these articles is interpreted? I have checked the legal definition and nowhere is this term interpreted as "termination"; also we have a clear expiry date on the contract. And should any information about 90 days notice or referral to articles mentioned above be included in my contract? In my contract it isn't and I am in dispute with my landlord, so I am trying to find the answer. DK, Dubai

A rental contract automatically renews unless either party informs the other (in writing) about their alternative intentions. While I agree with you that a contract has a start and end date, it is always good practice to communicate with the other party about your intentions (whether renewing or not), especially given the above automatic renewal statement.

Law 33 of 2008 does state that any changes to a contract have to be communicated (in writing) to the other party, giving at least 90 days’ notice because as stated, the contract automatically renews on the same terms and conditions as before. Unless either party informs the other of any changes, it is possible that it is assumed the current status quo would therefore continue. Remember that changes can be anything such as the number of cheques paid, the rental amount either up or down (as per the rental calculator in the case of any increases) etc.

In many cases it is understood that the legal need to inform the landlord of non renewal has been removed but no communication of intentions is also not the way forward as the landlord would require time to find another tenant to take over the lease and of course it would be polite to keep the landlord informed.

So you can see that with all these different interpretations, it is possible that there can be confusion as to what is the definitive right way to move forward. Given that your current contract does not make reference as to how to end the contract definitively, I suggest that if you are still in dispute with your landlord, either you or he should file a case at the rental dispute settlement committee for a final judgement.

I have an issue with a villa I am buying off-plan. This project has put us through many frustrations as the handover has been delayed by over 9 months and the communication from the developer on expected delivery dates etc is near nil. The larger issue right now, however, is that I discovered a mosque was being built in front of my villa in the area designated for a park when I visited the site last week. I called the sales director who said this was a temporary structure but the operations manager confirmed it is permanent. He says the authorities has asked for it to be constructed there. I signed up for a private villa away from the mall and golf course and finally am confronted with a place that will be frequented all through the day. The sales director says he is sympathetic but nothing can be done as common areas belong to the developers and he can decide what he wants there. What are my rights here, if I have any? PS, Dubai

While the intricacies of this case could develop into many complicated arguments, it is fair to say that the quick answer to your question is yes, you can file a compensation claim against the developer for constructing the mosque even if it is not their decision to build. This of course is on the proviso that it was not part of the initial master plan and that you did not have prior knowledge of this before signing the sale and purchase agreement. Given the above, you ought to be able to receive some sort of compensation. The reality of this process will mean that you most likely will need the services of a lawyer.

Mario Volpi is the chief sales officer for Kensington Exclusive Properties and has worked in the property industry for over 30 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@kensington.ae