We bought a property in Dubai five years ago – a one-bedroom apartment plus study. We rented it out as soon as we received the key and did not increase the rent, even though we could have done so last year. Every year it has been a struggle to find the tenant to renew the contract; it has almost felt as if we are begging him to renew. His contract expires soon and we tried contacting him two months before the expiry but as usual we have found it difficult to contact him. We have used different methods such as sending a renewal notice, contacting him by phone and even sending someone to the apartment. He has also violated an Emaar regulation and received a fine of Dh3,000. As per the rental index, I am eligible to increase the rent by 15 per cent (the rent is currently Dh105,000). But now the tenant says he does not want to renew because his access card has been deactivated. I have to pay for maintenance, and maybe the fines to reactivate the access card, and to do that I need his rental money first. Can you offer any advice? MH, Dubai
The law states that unless otherwise agreed, a rental contract automatically renews under the same terms and conditions as the previous year. This point would then take care of the actual renewal. Getting an increase in rent however is down to a couple of factors. Firstly checking the rental calculator, which you have already confirmed would allow you to raise the rent by the 15 per cent but this hike in rent would also have to be communicated to the tenant giving at least 90 days’ notice not 60 days as per your contract. If this window has been missed, then no increase would be allowed irrespective of what the calculator says.
You mention that the tenant has violated Emaar regulations and received a fine but you don’t mention exactly what the details are. Maintenance charges are always the responsibility of the landlord, however the tenant’s current fines are his responsibility.
Despite the fact that as per the law the contract has been renewed, (unless otherwise agreed) if he doesn’t have any money for the fine and the hassles you face each year at the point of renewal, my advice would be to mutually agree to let him leave and you look for a new tenant.
An eviction notice has been served to my tenants by my agent. But, from what I can see now, I have been misled by the agent who found the tenant. The contract was signed with one individual to rent my four-bedroom property in November 2014. At the time, I was not made aware of the need to serve an eviction notice. However I decided to sell my property and I was consequently told to serve an eviction notice, which I did so in August 2015. However, other agents have told me that the individual tenant is subletting the apartment to three girls and a boy. I was aware of this but did not know this constituted as subletting. What’s more, the contract was automatically renewed in November 2015. I have now found a buyer who wishes to purchase the property to live in. Is the new buyer/landlord able to use the eviction notice served by me in August, the previous owner, to evict the tenants in August 2016? And does the fact that the contract was automatically renewed invalidate the eviction notice served in August 2015 or is that still valid? MR, Dubai
Subletting as such is not illegal as long as the landlord is aware of it and by what you have said it would appear you have now accepted this. With reference to the new buyer using your eviction notice, unfortunately he will have to serve a new notice as the reason for eviction is now for own use or use of next of kin of first degree. Please remember that the notice has to be sent either via notary public or registered mail.
Mario Volpi is a real estate professional who has worked within the industry for the past 31 years in London and Dubai. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and they do not reflect in any way those of the institutions to which he is affiliated. It does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only. Please send any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org