Dubai Rental Law as a Landlord

So you own a property and want to lease it out to someone? Being a landlord is a not difficult however there are some specific laws that all landlords should know to avoid facing problems down the road.

No one wants to be a bad landlord as besides being morally wrong, having a bad image could put off prospective tenants from your property no matter how awesome the property might be. Most tenants appreciate and prefer a landlord who knows their duties and preforms them well.

The Rental Law established in 2007 (Law No. 26 of 2007) lists out the rights and obligations of both the landlord and the tenants. Parts of the law were later amended in 2008 (Law No. 33 of 2008). This article is written keeping landlords in mind however even others i.e tenants should read this too to better understand what their landlords can demand from them.

The following are a few importance aspects that every landlord should know:

Tenancy Contract Security / Maintenance Deposit Ejari 90 Days Notice Period
Rent Increase Evicting Tenant Before Contract Ends Evicting Tenant On Expiry of Contract Tenancy Contract Auto Renews

Tenancy Contract

Article 4, Law No. 33 of 2008

The tenancy contract is the legal paper that makes all this happen. It is the paper that would allow you to rent out your property to others and governs this agreement. The tenancy contract clearly states the details of your property, the yearly rental income, the payment structure ( no. of cheques), the tenant, the owner of the property, purpose of the lease and the period of the lease.

It is also the place where you can add your specific terms and condition regarding the lease of the property.

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Security / Maintenance Deposit

Article 20, Law No. 26 of 2007

You, the landlord are entitled to ask for a security deposit from the tenant for your property in order to repair any damages that might have been caused while their stay. This is collected at the time of signing the tenancy contract and kept with the landlord until the expiry of the contract.

You can use this sum to pay for the cost of repairing the property at the end of the lease. However, any amount left after deducting the cost should be returned back to the tenant as soon as possible and although no time frame is given by the law, within 30 days is the standard followed.

To avoid conflict and distrust with the tenant about the expense, tell the tenant about what you will be getting fixed and show him clear bills of the repairs. Additionally, you could ask the tenants themselves to find out the cost and refer services for you to get the job done.

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Ejari

In order to be recognized by the authorities, the tenancy contract must be registered with Ejari.

Ejari ensures that rental agreements are fair and transparent to the parties involved and that their terms and conditions are given full weight. It is important because any disputes between the tenant and landlord will not be taken up by the Rental Committee unless the contract is registered under Ejari.

Registering with Ejari does not take long and to learn more about Ejari, visit the official website by clicking here, ejari.ae.

Here is a list of Typing Centers (updated 20/07/2014) provided by ejari.ae that offer Ejari Typing Services, List of Typing Centers for Ejari Service.

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90 Days Notice Period

Article 14, Law No. 33 of 2008

By law, you have to give your tenants 90 days notice – unless agreed otherwise in the tenancy contract – before you can make any changes to the tenancy contract or even ask for an increase in the rent.

More importantly, the tenant has to agree with the new terms and conditions for them to be valid. If there is any disagreement, you can approach the Dubai Rent Committee and work on a feasible solution.

Without either an agreement or a Rent Committee judgment, a landlord cannot unilaterally change the terms of the tenancy agreement. Neither can the landlord force the tenant to sign a new agreement.

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Rent Increase

Article 9, Law No. 33 of 2008

In order to increase the rent of the property, you must follow two conditions:

  1. You can increase the rent of the property only after providing a notice period of 90 days before the tenancy ends.
  2. The increase must be inline with the rental cap and calculated using the Official Rental Calculator falling within percentage increases given in Decree 43 of 2013.

Landlords can use the Rent Calculator to compare their property rent with other properties in the same area and check if a rent increase is justified. After inputting the details of the property, the Rental Calculator clearly states the appropriate rent changes. Click here to go the Rental Calculator .

The rent can only be increased at the year end and not in between. The rental cap of two years no longer applies and now the landlord can increase even after one year but in accordance with the 2 conditions stated above.

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Evicting Tenant Before Contract Ends

Article 25, Law No. 33 of 2008

A landlord can not ask their tenants to leave the property before their contract ends without a justified and serious reason. The law has these 9 reasons clearly stated with justification and we only list them here in short. Read them completely here.

These are 9 reason a landlord may demand their tenant to leave the property before the lease ends;

  1. Failure to pay the rent
  2. Subleasing the property without landlord’s written approval
  3. Property used for illegal activities
  4. In case the property is a commercial shop and is left abandoned
  5. Intentional non restore-able damage to the property
  6. Usage of property against planning / building / land using regulations
  7. Property in danger of collapse
  8. Not abiding by the legal obligation and set conditions of the tenancy contract
  9. Government intervention

Please read the above reasons in detail as stated under law here to understand where and when they may apply.

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Evicting Tenant On Expiry of Contract

Article 25, Law No. 33 of 2008

So a year has passed and now the tenancy contract is almost over. You want your tenants to leave but they do not have to, they have the right to stay. Unless they want to leave by themselves, the only way you can ask them to leave by law are under these 4 circumstances;

  1. If you, the landlord wish to demolish the property for reconstruction or are adding new construction that prevents the tenant from benefiting from the leased property. Even so you must have the necessary licenses obtained to do such work.
  2. If the property requires comprehensive maintenance or renovation and such work cannot be performed while the tenant lives there. Once again you require paper work such as a technical report issued by the Dubai Municipality or accredited by them.
  3. If you, the property owner want to recover the property so that you could live their or your first degree kin (daughter, son) provided that you do not own a suitable alternative property for that purpose. (Also read Article 26, Law No. 33 of 2008)
  4. If you wish to sell the leased property.

To read the exact law word by word, click here.

Most importantly you must inform your tenant 12 months in advance, prior to the required date of eviction and only through the Notary Public / Dubai Courts or by registered mail.

The eviction notice must include the reason for the eviction and must be sent through the Dubai Courts / Notary Public or registered mail with a time frame of 12 months in advance from the date of eviction.

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Tenancy Contract Auto Renews

Article 6, Law No. 26 of 2007

So the tenancy contract you made for your property states that it is not renewable and will expire after the said date. However, under Dubai tenancy laws, a tenancy contract does not terminate automatically. Instead, it renews automatically on the same terms, until either parties agree to change the terms or terminate it.

Therefore if you want the property empty and want the tenants to leave, you must send them a notice following the same conditions and reason listed above under Evicting Tenant On Expiry of Contract.

And if you do not want them to leave but want to make changes to the contract terms, you must notify them 90 days in advance. Then also the notification alone is only the first step as the tenant then has to agree. In the event they do not agree to the changes in the contract, the parties should take the dispute to the Rent Committee.

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Important Links

Rental Laws, Dubai Land Department, www.dubailand.gov.ae/English/RulesRegulations/Pages/RealEstateLegislation.aspx

Update: Dubai Government has changed their website and now provides a comprehensive PDF of all the laws rather than the single PDFs like before. We have now updated the article so the links will take you to the corresponding law properly.

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Guide: Dubai Rental Law as a Landlord
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