”The Know Your Rights initiative is in place to help drive legal transparency on the property law in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi. We wish to empower people to better understand their rights and protect themselves from any form of unfair practice.”
Ann Boothello, Property Product Marketing Manager at dubizzle.
Q: What is the best way to communicate with my landlord? Via email or written documents?
A: It is most practical to communicate with your landlord via email on all matters except for Eviction notices.
Q: I have rooms in my house that I want to rent out on short term as a ”bed and breakfast”. Can I legally do this/ do I have to pay a fee/ is it regulated? I’m unsure because I dont know if this falls under a RERA or Hospitality regulations? Secondly, is the answer the same if I don’t live in the property. So if I want a second property for this purpose, would that be allowed too?
A: Short term lets of bedrooms in residential homes are not permitted by law. The same would apply if you do not live in the property. The only subletting permitted by law is that of the whole unit with the proper written consent of the landlord. Secondly, if you own the property, by law you can not rent out a room, only the whole unit.There is soon to be a new decree enforced by the DTCM (Decree No. 41 of 2013 Regulating Rental Activities of Holiday Homes in the Emirate of Dubai) - which requires PMCs to obtain a permit for each unit given on short-term lease but will only allow for whole units to be rented out and not rooms within a unit.
Q: My landlord has asked to increase my rent by 20% while RERA calculator clearly states 5% and this increase was informed to me a week before my re newal was due also my landlord insists in placing the non-renewable clause in the tenancy agreement or else refuses to renew the contract reason being he wants to sell the property. This is my first tenancy renewal for this property. What are my options in this regard, do I accept this and leave the next year?
A: Firstly, the notice period for rent increase has passed as your landlord should have informed you of any rent increase at least 90 days beofore the expiry of your tenancy. Moreover, if the rent calculator says that a 5% increase is the maximum the landlord is allowed to do, then he has to abide by it otherwise it will be illegal for him to increase the rent any further. As for the non-renewable clause, you may choose to sign on it but RERA will not accept such a clause if the lanlord choose to evict you the next year. The only way the landlord can legally evict you is by sending you a written notice at least 12 months in advance either by notary public or registered mail. The reason for eviction has to be in accordance with articel 25(2) of The Tenancy Law and selling the property is considered one of those reasons.
Q: My landlord has demanded a Dhs2,000 contract renewal fee, but no agencies or third parties are involved. Is such a fee legal and enforceable?
A: There is no mentioning in the law that the tenant has to pay a renewal fee. However, there are small administrative costs (approximately AED 160) involved when renewing a lease. The landlord and the tenant can agree on who will be paying these administrative costs.
Moreover, RERA allows for agents and property management companies to charge renewal fees provided that the fees reflect the service which the agent or property management company will undertake e.g. updating the tenancy agreement, collecting and depositing cheques, applying for Ejari, etc. Such renewal fees can also be shared equally between the landlord and the tenant. However, this is a service which the landlord or the tenant need not take should they decide to do all the paperwork and procedures on their own accord. To this end, the landlord cannot then charge a renewal fee to the tenant as he himself is not an agent nor third party.
Hence, if the landlord is charging you a renewal fee, you have the right to refuse the entire amount on the basis that this fee is not prescribed by law and there is no legitimate claim to it.
Note: This question has been answered on the assumption that the renewal fee is not based on any outstanding payments or charges that have not been settled by the Tenant.
Q: My tenant is not letting me show the property to a prospective buyer. What are my rights as a landlord?
A: As an owner, you are entitled to showcase your property to potential buyers, provided that you give the tenant reasonable time to do so without interrupting the tenant’s right to enjoy the property. For example, surprising the tenant with a viewing would more likely be construed as an intrusion on his rights. So this matter is best resolved by negotiating with the tenant and give him prior notice(A notice of at least 72 hours in advance is reasonable) The tenant would also be more agreeable to allowing potential buyers in the property if you have already sent the tenant a notice for eviction beforehand.