I rented an apartment in Abu Dhabi in November last year and it recently came to my knowledge that the landlord is selling the apartment. Can the current landlord or the new owner ask me to vacate the apartment once the purchase is complete if this is before the expiry of my current contract? I have incurred lots of expenses such as agent’s fees and moving in costs and I do not want to do the same again if the new owner asks me to leave right away. MS, Abu Dhabi
You have nothing to worry about even if your current landlord is selling the property. Your position does not change. Your tenancy agreement will pass over to the new landlord upon the purchase as per Article 18 of the tenancy law. To alter or terminate the tenancy agreement, the new landlord must give you (the tenant) at least two months’ notice before the end of the agreement (article 20 (3) of the tenancy law). If the landlord misses this window then the lease automatically renews on the same terms as before. From this point neither party can alter the terms nor can the landlord refuse to renew the lease.
We have been living in The Springs as tenants for the past five years. This year, at lease renewal in February, we were handed the legal eviction notice (notary public) on the basis that the landlord wishes to sell the house. We of course believe this is his right as owner of the property and we will facilitate this operation by allowing potential buyers to see the property and so on. The question I have is the following based on the three outcomes:
a. If the house is not sold by February 2016, I understand that the original notice is void as the main premise for us to move out has not been met. In this case, my understanding is that we can stay and renew our lease as per the Rera index if we would like to do so.
b. If the house is sold before February 2016 to an investor and the investor has no intention to move in and he/she intends to put the house in the rental market, I understand that we are allowed to renew our lease based on the Rera index calculator and we do not need to vacate.
c. If the house is sold to a landlord that wants to move in, then I understand that we need to vacate in February 2016.
Can you please let me know if my understanding is correct? RP, Dubai
Allow me to answer your three questions:
a) If the property is not sold before you are due to vacate in February 2016 then you are right to question the validity of your eviction as the reason for your leaving would not have been fulfilled. The law, however, is silent on this point and the only way I can guarantee you remain in the property is in one of two ways;
Firstly, if you convince the owner that you wish to stay and he changes his mind about selling or you file a case at the rental committee on the pretext that you wish to stay and the owner has not sold. The actual outcome in this example would depend 100 per cent on the judge(s) of the rental committee at the time of hearing.
b) For this scenario, your assumption is not strictly accurate. If the buyer is indeed an investor and he wants to let the property out, he would obviously want a vacant rental price not the Rera calculator rental price. By you remaining in the property, he can only quote what the Rera rental calculator states but as a vacant property he can quote market price. The only way you can guarantee that you remain in the property would be to offer him/her market rent.
One thing to remember is that the new buyer has to keep your rent, terms and conditions as per your present contract until your 12 months’ notice has expired. After this point, you either move out or agree to his terms which as explained cannot be as per the Rera rental calculator because your eviction notice is in place.
c) You are absolutely correct on this final point.
Mario Volpi is the managing director of Ocean View Real Estate and has worked in the industry in the emirate and in London for the past 30 years. Send any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only. Readers are encouraged to seek appropriate independent legal advice