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Can new Dubai property owner bump up tenant’s rent or evict?

We are purchasing a Dubai property which is tenanted until next month. So far no vacating letter has been sent to the tenant. So upon completing the transfer, the seller has issued a vacating notice via the courts – this means the tenant will have to vacate after 12 months. The tenant is paying Dh115,000 – well below the market rate of Dh130,000 for a two-bed plus study in The Springs. So when the time comes to renew can we refuse renewal as per clause 2 of the standard tenancy agreement? This states “renewal is at the discretion of the landlord”. Or can we renew and, at that stage, provide the tenant with the required three-month notice of a rent increase with the increased rent effective from November? Our current broker tells us that because we haven’t given the tenant three months’ notice to increase the rent that we are stuck at the Dh115,000 level for the next 12 months. It doesn’t sound right to me. MAZ, Dubai

For either you or the old landlord (your seller) to legally request the present tenant vacates the property, it is important that these next steps are followed, otherwise you may find that the tenant has the right to stay on for one year longer than the 12 months’ notice which is about to be sent.

The 12 months notice to vacate, presumably for the reason you wish to use the property yourself, has to be served upon expiry of the existing agreement. I therefore would ensure this is done perhaps a week or so before the expiry date. Remember it also has to be sent either via notary public or registered mail. Then renew the tenancy agreement for the next 12 months; this will be the last time it is extended as you require the property for your own use. With regards to the new rental amount, I’m afraid that your agent is correct. Because you or the seller have not given the tenant the 90-day notice to alter the existing contract, it therefore has to remain the same for renewal and that includes the rental amount even if the Rera rental calculator will allow for an increase. Finally, clause 2 of your standard tenancy agreement which states that “the renewal is at the discretion of the landlord” is against the law and therefore not recognised, so this clause is null and void.

I recently emailed my landlady to request she prepare the rental agreement for renewal. She replied saying she has sent me a notice through the notary public and wants to evict me. Following this I emailed her stating I had not received any notice and asked her what she had sent. She emailed what transpires to be (after translation) a notice which is stamped by the notary public the day after I last renewed the contract, with a standard courier slip. However, the slip does not have my name or address on it. The fact is nothing has been delivered to me until now (by email one month prior to renewal). Is a notary public notice by itself sufficient to evict me or does she not have to prove the document has been delivered? RG, Dubai

For the 12 months notification notice to be legal, it has to be sent via notary public or registered mail. The fact that the notice did not contain your details and you never received it means this notice has to be contested. When registered mail companies are not able to hand the notice to the recipient, they normally paste it on to the property door so the tenant cannot fail to see it even if he is out when first delivered. My advice would be to insist the landlady renews the contract as the notification was not delivered in a proper manner. Remember also that the eviction has to have good reason, which you have not mentioned in your communication. If she insists on wanting to evict you, then either you or her should open a case at the rental committee. The actual outcome will be determined by the rental judges.

Mario Volpi has worked in the real estate industry in Dubai and in London for the past 30 years. Send any questions to

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only.

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