x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Dubai resident stays put despite marching orders from landlord

Irfan Awan was handed marching orders by his landlord just 10 months into his rent contract, but the law is on his side.

Irfan Awan, seen here with his son Rehan, leased a two-bedroom apartment in Al Barsha for Dh67,000 in June last year, but was recently sent an email and letter specifying that the rent would increase by Dh5,000 on renewal in June. Pawan Singh / The National
Irfan Awan, seen here with his son Rehan, leased a two-bedroom apartment in Al Barsha for Dh67,000 in June last year, but was recently sent an email and letter specifying that the rent would increase by Dh5,000 on renewal in June. Pawan Singh / The National

DUBAI // When Irfan Awan was asked to cough up Dh5,000 more in rent or vacate his apartment, he decided to stand his ground.

He leased a two-bedroom apartment in Al Barsha for Dh67,000 in June last year but received an email and letter stating the rent would rise by Dh5,000 on renewal this June.

The marketing manager said he was not willing to unquestioningly uproot his four-month-old baby and family.

“I’m not fighting, I’m just asking for clarification and hoping that rules and regulations will be followed,” Mr Awan said. “I’ve just asked how this figure of Dh5,000 has been arrived at?

“I’m asking for my rights because I believe this figure is not right, so I checked with Rera [the Real Estate Regulatory Authority] and they said it could not be increased. I have a newborn baby and it’s difficult to relocate.”

But when Mr Awan told the landlord he was not willing to pay more, he was told to vacate since “it could easily be rented out for Dh85,000”.

On checking the Rera rent index, he confirmed that the current range was between Dh55,000 and Dh70,000 and he was not liable for an increase.

The index is updated three times a year and, while it is not mandatory to stick to the prices, it is a valuable guide for rentals.

“Everyone has to follow rules and I have spoken to the Land Department and Rera and they have provided me with all the information,” Mr Awan said. “People should also consult legal advisers at their own companies for help.”

Mr Awan asked that the property company not be identified since negotiations were still under way.

Shahram Safai, the head of real estate at Afridi and Angell legal consultants, said tenants needed to remember that they were protected by the law.

“The only way you can be evicted is if you commit wrongful acts like not pay the rent, or do illegal acts like sublease without permission,” Mr Safai said. “A landlord can also ask a tenant to move out if he wants to live there, if the house requires major renovation or he wants to sell the property when the lease is over.

“Even in these cases, he must give one year’s notice. This one year’s notice is applicable one year from the end of the lease term and the reason has to be a legitimate one.”

Yusuf Pingar, who rents an apartment in The Greens, said Rera’s rent index was helpful for landlords, too.

“If tenants are paying 20 to 25 per cent lower than the prevailing rate, then it makes sense to ask for more. Otherwise it’s unreasonable,” he said. “If the difference is just 5 to 7 per cent then it’s sheer greed. They should work something out.”

rtalwar@thenational.ae