Dubai’s Real Estate Laws: Know Your Rights as a Tenant

Dubai's Real Estate Laws Know Your Rights as a Tenant

Are you a tenant in Dubai navigating the complexities of real estate laws? The dynamic nature of Dubai’s property landscape often leaves tenants unsure about their rights and protections. 

Understanding your rights as a tenant is pivotal in addressing common concerns like rent increases, lease agreements, and maintenance issues. The array of regulations can be overwhelming, creating uncertainty and discomfort among tenants. 

Let’s unravel the intricacies of Dubai’s real estate laws together, empowering you with the knowledge needed to safeguard your rights and ensure a fair and harmonious tenancy experience.

Tenant’s Right in Dubai’s Real Estate

1. To carry out property renovations, it’s necessary to seek the landlord’s consent and acquire required licenses from official bodies, as stipulated in Article 19.

2. Tenants are expected to provide a refundable security deposit upon renting the property.

3. According to Article 20, if the landlord fails to fully refund the deposit due to unfair deductions for property damage, tenants can seek resolution through the rent dispute committee. The property should be returned in its initial condition, barring ordinary wear and tear or damage beyond the tenant’s control.

4. In case of disagreement between parties, Article 21 allows for the escalation of issues to the dispute committee.

5. Unless otherwise specified in the contract (Article 22), tenants are responsible for all government charges, property use taxes, sublease fees, and taxes, unless agreed upon mutually.

6. Article 23 of the rental law stipulates that upon vacating the property, tenants should not remove any leasehold improvements made during the tenancy when returning possession to the landlord.

Also Read: Is Jebel Ali Worth the Investment?

Is It Possible for Tenants to Vacate The Property Before The Contract’s Scheduled End Date?

Yes, as a tenant, leaving the property before the contract concludes is permissible. However, it’s important to note that unless the lease agreement contains an explicit early termination clause, the landlord isn’t legally required to refund any rent.

Dubai lacks a universal law or established principle governing early termination of tenancy. To mitigate uncertainties, consider including a clause in the contract specifying a notice period and the associated penalty for early termination. This proactive measure ensures clarity and protects both parties involved in the rental agreement.

What Is The Notice Period for Early Termination As A Tenant And Are There Penalties Involved?

In the event a tenant decides to leave the property before the rental contract’s conclusion, they are required to notify the landlord at least 60 days in advance, meeting the legal notice period criteria.

Typically, tenants terminating the contract early may be subject to a penalty equivalent to one or two months’ rental amount payable to the landlord.

Notably, RERA does not outline specific guidelines for early contract termination, leaving any penalties or rent refunds solely at the landlord’s discretion and willingness.

Landlord’s Right 

Dubai's Real Estate Laws Know Your Rights as a Tenant

Tenant Responsibilities and Landlord Rights in Dubai

Before renting a property in Dubai, it’s essential to understand the responsibilities towards the landlord and their rights, which are governed by Dubai’s tenancy laws. Both parties must register the tenant contract with Ejari to protect the landlord’s rights.

Right to Receive Rent and Utilities Payment

Landlords have the right to receive rent as agreed in the lease, along with payments for utilities like water, electricity, or gas. Tenants cannot modify the property without the landlord’s approval. RERA regulations permit a 5% rent increase if the current rent is 11 to 20% lower than the Emirate’s average, determined using the RERA calculator. Any rent increase during lease renewal requires a three-month official notice to tenants.

Right to Evict Tenants

Landlords can ask tenants to vacate the property if they violate rental agreement terms. Failure to pay rent within thirty days of notice or engaging in damaging, illegal, or unauthorized activities on the property may lead to eviction. Additionally, renovation or civic development may necessitate eviction if tenants cannot reside during property work.

Right to Inspect Property

Landlords have the right to inspect the property after providing a written 24-hour notice to ensure compliance with the tenancy agreement, maintaining the property’s condition.

Also Read: 5 Real Estate Reasons I Should Invest in Dubai

Right to Terminate Agreement

Under certain conditions, landlords can terminate the tenancy agreement before its completion, such as tenant-induced property damage. A 12-month written notice is required for early termination.

Security Deposit Rights

Landlords can withhold the security deposit if tenants breach the lease agreement, covering any unexpected expenses. This deposit is paid by the tenant in advance upon moving in.

Repair Responsibilities

Tenants are responsible for maintaining cleanliness and paying for deliberate or accidental damages. The rental agreement should include repair and maintenance clauses, especially in furnished homes.

Imposing Penalties

Landlords can impose reasonable penalties if tenants violate lease conditions, like late payment penalties not exceeding 5% of the rental value.

What Should the Tenancy Contract in Dubai Include?

A well-drafted tenancy contract should encompass crucial information safeguarding the rights of both the landlord and the tenant. Key details to include are:

  • Landlord’s Details: Name, contact information, and any relevant identification or licensing details.
  • Tenant’s Details: Name, contact information, and pertinent identification details.
  • Property Information: Comprehensive details including the full address, building name, precise location, size, plot number, and DEWA premise number (Dubai Electricity and Water Authority).
  • Rent Amount: Clearly stated rental amount, payment frequency, and the agreed-upon currency.
  • Contract Duration: The specific period of the tenancy agreement, including the start date and the duration of the lease.
  • Contract Signing Date: The date when both parties officially sign and agree to the terms of the contract.
  • Security Deposit: Mention the amount of the security deposit, the conditions under which it may be withheld, and the process for its return at the end of the tenancy.
  • Payment Conditions: Include detailed payment terms, such as the preferred method of payment, due dates, and any penalties for late payments or bounced cheques.

What Are the Important Clauses in Dubai Tenancy Contracts?

Dubai's Real Estate Laws Know Your Rights as a Tenant

Understanding the entirety of Dubai Tenancy Law can be overwhelming. Thus, highlighting key clauses in your tenancy contract is crucial, whether you’re a landlord or a tenant:

Documents for Reference

A supplementary addendum to the standard tenancy contract is advisable. It should comprehensively outline terms and conditions, clarifying responsibilities for services like chiller maintenance. 

Additionally, specify requirements for obtaining a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from landlords for property alterations. It’s mandatory to register any contract amendments with RERA as per Article 4.

Contract Termination

Neither party can unilaterally terminate the tenancy contract. If there’s no mutual agreement, the contract automatically renews for a similar duration or one year (whichever is shorter) with the same terms and conditions after its expiration, as per Article 6.

Notice Period 

In case of termination or modification, landlords must issue written notice at least 90 days before the contract’s expiry, per Article 14 of the Dubai Tenancy Contract.

Emergency Situations

In the event of the death of either the landlord or tenant, the tenancy contract doesn’t automatically terminate. It transfers to the heirs, unless the tenant’s heirs opt to terminate. In such cases, termination takes effect at least 30 days from notifying the landlord, as stated in Article 27.

Ownership Transfer

If the property undergoes ownership transfer while the tenancy contract is in force, the tenant retains the right to occupy the property. This right is upheld if the tenancy contract has a fixed date, in accordance with Article 28.

How Are the Tenancy Contracts in Dubai Managed?

In Dubai, the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA) oversees and regulates tenancy contracts, ensuring adherence to established rules and guidelines.

Recently, a revamped tenancy contract system has been introduced under the Ejari system. This system mandates the compulsory registration of all leasing agreements. It’s a mandatory step for landlords and tenants, aimed at fostering transparency and legal compliance in the rental process.

What Is Dubai Tenancy Law? 

The Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA) in Dubai governs the relationship between landlords and tenants through the Dubai Rental Law No. 26 of 2007, with subsequent amendments from Law No. 33 (2008). This legislation explicitly defines the roles and responsibilities of both parties to proactively prevent potential disputes and misunderstandings.

Additionally, the Rent Disputes Settlement Centre (RDSC) was established under Decree No. 26 of 2013 to specifically address and resolve rental disputes in Dubai. Whether you’re a tenant or a landlord, the RDSC serves as a dedicated platform for escalating concerns or problems related to rental issues.

The primary objective of RDSC’s existence is to ensure that both landlords and tenants have a fair and transparent process to address their concerns, thereby safeguarding their respective rights within the rental framework in Dubai.

Conclusion

Understanding Dubai’s Real Estate Laws empowers tenants by delineating their rights. Governed by RERA and the Dubai Rental Law, these regulations clarify landlord-tenant responsibilities, mitigating potential conflicts. The Rent Disputes Settlement Centre offers a resolution avenue for rental disagreements. 

Moreover, tenants benefit from legal safeguards, ensuring fairness and clarity in rental agreements. Knowing these laws arms tenants with the knowledge to navigate leases confidently, fostering a balanced landlord-tenant relationship and protecting their rights within Dubai’s rental landscape.

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