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Dubai tenant faces Dh12,500 bill in escape from traffic noise

I have lived in the same flat for almost three years but I have a problem with the loud traffic noise from the road below. My contract will end by July this year so I am planning to break the contract early. But the agency is asking for Dh12,500, which is two months rent, as a penalty for breaking the contract. What can I do? Our health is being affected as we can’t sleep at night due to the traffic. KS, Dubai

I’m sorry to hear that your health is being affected by the lack of sleep. There clearly is a break clause within your contract that allows for you to leave the property before the expiry of the agreement but as you state, this comes at a price. The only suggestion I can give you is to try to set up a meeting or have a direct conversation over the telephone with the landlord to explain your situation to see if you can come to some arrangement that will allow you to leave before the expiry of your contract but at no extra cost to you. One possible solution I can think of that you could put to the landlord would be, if you can find another tenant who will take over your current lease, thus leaving the landlord with no void period if you were to vacate early. I do wonder though, has the road traffic increased by so much that it has now become so unbearable? Surely the road noise was there when you first took the apartment three years ago? Anyway, I believe that face to face conversations with your landlord may be the only way to find the solution to your plight.

My tenancy contract runs from October to October every year. In October 2014, I renewed my tenancy contract through the Rental Dispute Office and submitted the cheques at their office as the landlord wanted to increase the rent way higher than the suggested RERA Rental Calculator. Then the following happened:

1. I received a 12-month eviction notice sent by registered mail, stamped by notary public, in February last year.

2. At the end of the tenancy contract, in October, I paid the rental cheque to cover the four months from November 2015 to February 12 - to tie in with the eviction notice.

3. During this period, not a single viewing was arranged by the landlord and now the landlord insists I vacate the property.

Can you tell me whether the eviction notice was as per the law as it was served after four months of renewing the tenancy? Or does the landlord need to serve another eviction notice at the end of the contract? What are the chances of my renewing the contract for one more year? AJ, Dubai

You do not mention the actual reason for the 12-month eviction notice being issued but state that no viewings have taken place so I assume the reason is for selling. According to Law 33 of 2008, the landlord may demand eviction of a tenant upon expiry of the tenancy contract subject to a notice period of at least 12 months before the determined date of eviction provided such notice be sent via registered mail or through notary public. This means that the renewed contract would be the last and the tenant would have to vacate at the end of the newly renewed contract. Having said that, some judges at the rental committee also uphold the 12 months notice that is sent during a tenancy period so unfortunately the answer to your first question lies with the interpretation of the law by the figure of authority as each case is looked at separately and not set on precedent.

I do not wish to raise your hopes but I believe that the rental committee may look at possibly extending your stay for at least until the property is actually sold as this is the primary reason for eviction. Maybe they will agree to allow you to remain in the apartment until such time as a buyer is found. It therefore could be worthwhile to seek their assistance in this instance.

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