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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 June 2018

Homefront: Is there a formal way for a landlord to withdraw an eviction notice?

The Dubai landlord sent an eviction notice to a tenant living in their Springs villa but now wants to retract it

Despite the landlord withdrawing the eviction notice, the tenant still wants to move out. Jeff Topping / The National
Despite the landlord withdrawing the eviction notice, the tenant still wants to move out. Jeff Topping / The National

I have a property in the Springs community in Dubai. In July 2017, we got a new tenant whose contract ends in July 2018. We sent him a 12-month eviction notice in August as we planned to use the property for self occupation. Now our situation has altered, as our stay in Dubai is not certain. We gave an option of extension to our current tenant but he wishes to move out. Can we then look for a new tenant (with the same or decreased rent) or would we run into legal tangles with the Real Estate Regulatory Agency if he were to look for compensation since the laws seem to largely favour tenants? It actually puts landlords like us at a considerable disadvantage. Is there any formal process to withdraw a given vacating notice? MO, Dubai

Firstly (as you have already done), you will need to give your current tenant the option to renew. As he has already stated he wishes to vacate, you need to get this decision in writing from him that despite the fact you gave the 12-month notice to vacate, for reason of personal use, your circumstances have now changed and you will not require him to vacate. Make sure you get in writing that his decision not to renew the contract is his choice and nothing to do with the original notification to vacate by August 2018. This guarantees that you should not have any issues in the future, should he also change his mind about any compensation when you do indeed find another tenant.

You need to confirm his exact date of vacating, presumably it will be before the end of July next year. Given the fact that you need to find another tenant, you will need your present tenant to help by allowing access to the property in advance of his departure. This way you stand a chance of finding a tenant before he leaves avoiding any void periods.

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Read more from Mario Volpi:

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Homefront: 'My Dubai tenant wants to add his wife's name to the contract. Will this cause me problems?'

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I have a query that I can’t seem to get a straight answer on. Our rental contract is pretty standard and states that large maintenance works are the responsibility of the landlord, however anything up to Dh1,000 is the responsibility of the tenant. My landlord is claiming that this is in relation to each individual maintenance issue - of which there have been many. So basically if 10 different things go wrong in the property each costing Dh900, is my liability Dh9,000? When I signed the contract I assumed that my total liability would be Dh1,000 over the course of the contract. DF, Dubai

The straight answer to your question is that there is not one specific set in stone way, but I can confirm what the normal practice is. Maintenance or remedial works to a property can happen at any time and these are taken into consideration normally on a case-by-case basis. So in this case, your landlord is correct. Under normal situations, as soon as something needs to be taken care of, that is the time that the tenant and landlord agree to what is to be done and who is responsible for what.

Paying Dh1,000 for any minor maintenance issues is (in my opinion) quite high as Dh500 is more in line with what the majority of tenants agree to pay. At this level the amount shared out, whether minor or major, is on a single maintenance issue at a time not cumulative. I suggest you meet up with your landlord and re-adjust the maintenance liability figures to reflect the norm.

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