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Dubai landlord ‘duped’ by tenant over rent increase

I own an apartment in Business Bay and last year served an eviction notice on the tenant as I would like to sell the apartment. They were due to leave in May. However, a couple of weeks ago the tenants pleaded to stay. I told them I had to sell the apartment to adhere to RERA laws once an eviction notice has been served. However, they asked if they could pay more rent would there be an option to stay to which I replied, yes, in principle. They then asked me to email a proposal asking what it would take for me to rescind my vacating notice in exchange for them paying a higher rent. I didtell them it would be in excess of what the RERA calculator would say. I did email them a hypothetical proposal, but they now tell methey have taken advice from RERA, who say that as my “intention” seems to be to relet the apartment, they don’t have to vacate anymore. I want to sell the apartment and need them out to do this but they claim RERA have told them that as a result of me sending a hypothetical offer of a new rent that my vacating notice is no longer valid. Please advice? RG, Dubai

It appears to me that you have fallen foul of your good intentions.

I think you need to explain to your tenant that you do not appreciate them taking advantage of your good nature and the only reason you put forward your offer of renewing a higher rent was due to their insistence. I cannot believe that they are now using this “offer” against you. I have never heard of the notarised eviction notice being null and void due to this. Your intention is to sell, so go ahead and put the property on the market. Explain to them that you are fully aware of the law and that you are not allowed to relet the property for a period of two years from the date of your tenant’s eviction.

You are correct that it should be easier to sell your property vacant rather than with a tenant in suite as this opens up the possibility of a quicker sale. I would definitely contact your tenant and rescind your renewal offer, explain how you feel let down and “duped” by them and that you are proceeding with selling the property as per your original plan.

Yesterday an agent came to our villa [one of six, in Umm Suqeim] and told us the properties had been sold to another party. They brought new contracts and asked us to come to the office and sign new cheques/contracts as the change of ownership had gone through exactly half way through the current tenancy period. These new contracts are for six months only. When I moved in, the landlord issued new one-year contracts. I would like this to be the same this time as there is every likelihood we will be leaving in a year. I do not believe they can ask us to leave at the end of six months because they have not given us the one-year notice. We have been here for nine years and because they are older villas the rent has been attractive to us [cheaper but certainly not cheap]. Can I insist on one year at the current price? MT, Dubai

I can understand the new owner wanting to have his details on the contract, so this alteration is allowed but no other changes would be permitted as the buyer does in fact take over the terms and conditions of your tenancy agreement from the old owner (old landlord). A 90-day notice prior to the expiration of the existing agreement is required to alter the new contract and even then these clauses have to be mutually agreed. This obviously means the rent too but only if the Rental Calculator states this is permissible. If you were not given the statutory 12-month written notice via notary public or registered mail for the reason of selling the villa beforehand, the new owner cannot therefore regard your eviction just because he is the new landlord.

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 mario@oceanviewdubai.com.

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for info

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