Disputes can arise between tenants and landlords anytime and anywhere. And, Dubai cannot be an exception, just because it is a tenant-friendly city.
It may so happen that a disagreement can happen between you and your landlord. In that case, it does not necessarily mean that the relationship should get strained. Instead, you can resolve the dispute while preserving the good relationship with some tactful ways.
Remember, it is essential to resolve disputes amicably, or the relationship between a tenant and landlord will get strained.
Usually, a rental dispute can arise when one of the parties fails to honour the contract terms during the tenancy period. When you exhaust all means to settle the underlying issues with your landlord, a dispute arises.
However, if you fail to resolve the dispute, you can refer the matter to the Rental Disputes Settlement Centre(RDSC).
The Most Common Reasons for Dispute
Disputes between landlords and tenants can arise due to many reasons. The most common ones are the following:
- Unreasonable grounds for eviction
- Increase of rent by the landlord without adhering to the Dubai rent increase law.
- Cutting off essential services to the tenant
- Leasing apartment with defects and pest infection
- Unreasonable deduction from the security deposit
The Entity Responsible for Solving Disputes in Dubai
If a dispute arises between you and the landlord, and you fail to solve it amicably, you can refer the matter to RDSC in Dubai. In RDSC, a specialized committee will solve the dispute.
The objective of RDSC is to solve Dubai rental dispute cases between landlords and tenants. As such, you can file a complaint against the landlord to have the relevant authorities intervene to resolve the dispute if you fail to resolve it amicably.
Lodging a Rental Dispute
In the process of requesting a rental dispute case inquiry against your landlord, you need to submit copies of the following documents when filing your rental dispute:
- Residence Visa
- Emirates ID
- Ejari certificate
- Tenancy contract
- Recent DEWA bills
- Rental deposit slip
- Cheques issued to the landlord
- Title Deed
- Landlord’s passport copy
- Copies of correspondences between you and the landlord regarding the dispute
- Any other relevant documentation which may support your case
The Involved Process
Once you have the documents ready, you need to go to Dubai’s Rental Dispute Center, where there is a typing centre to fill out the necessary forms to file your case.
A typist will translate your documents into Arabic and ask you the relevant questions regarding the dispute to formalize your complaint correctly. The need for translating your documents to Arabic arises from the fact that Arabic is the official language of the courts in Dubai.
Subsequently, you can monitor the progress of your case via the government website. There is also the provision for filing an appeal. You can do that at the Appeal Department in RDSC if need be.
The Cost to Lodge a Rental Dispute
Filing a case against your landlord for a dispute does is not free. You need to incur expenditure. According to the existing rules, you need to pay:
- 5% of the annual rent (minimum AED 500, maximum AED 20,000) to lodge a complaint
- AED 210 per page translation fee for your documents
- AED 110 as an administration fee
Location of the Rental Dispute Center
In Dubai, the RDSC is located in the Department of Land and Property. The address is: 7 Baniyas Road, Deira, Riggat Al Buteen, Dubai.
Contact Number in Dubai: 800 44 88.
You can also file a complaint against a rental agent who cheated on you. In addition, if you find an agent or landlord violating the Dubai Tenancy Law, you can approach the agency for help.
The Eviction Process
In Dubai, a landlord cannot evict a tenant as per his will. On the contrary, he has to follow the rule mandated by the Real Estate Regulatory Agency.
If a landlord evicts you as per the existing rules, you can avoid going to the RDSC to settle a dispute that can occur, and you failed to solve it amicably.
Moreover, landlords should make themselves aware of the existing rules to evict tenants.
In the context of eviction, the following rules apply:
Evicting a Tenant Before Expiration of the Tenancy Period
Under the Dubai Tenancy Law, Article 25 (1), a landlord may demand eviction of a tenant before the expiry of their tenancy period as outlined in the rental agreement if the tenant:
- Did not pay the rent within 30 days of receipt of a payment notice
- Subleases the property without the landlord’s written consent
- Uses or allows others to use the property for immoral or illegal activities
- Causes risks to the safety of the property by damaging intentionally or resulting from negligence, or allows others to cause damage
- Uses the property beyond the permitted use or violates building regulations
- Fails to follow their legal or contractual obligations within 30 days of receipt of a remedy notice
In addition, the existing rules allow a landlord to evict a tenant if the property is at risk of collapse or the government orders demolition of the property.
Notifying the Tenant About the Eviction
According to the existing rules, a landlord must notify the tenant with reasons for eviction at least ninety days prior to the expiry date of the tenancy contract.
The Landlord Needing the Property for Personal Use
Article 26 (2) of the Tenancy Law restricts landlords from renting their properties for two years if they want to use them for personal uses.
For non-residential properties, landlords cannot rent them for three years.
You can approach the RDSC to compensate your landlord for evicting you within the restricted time frame.
Notice Period for Eviction
In Dubai, both the landlord and tenant should notify the other party before evicting a rental property in advance.
According to the relevant laws, a landlord should provide a 12-month notice to the tenant before the date of eviction. He should send the information through a Notary Public or by registered mail.
Also, a landlord should give a 24-hour notice period if he wants to do potential viewings to sell the house.
Conversely, a tenant should provide a 90-day notice period before the expiry of the contract to vacate the property.
Rental Increase Matters
There are adequate provisions in the tenancy laws in Dubai to safeguard tenants from abrupt and irrational rent increases.
The Permitted Amount of Rental Increase
If you know the legal provisions of renting increases, you can deal with your landlord accordingly. And, that will help you to avoid rent increase disputes.
You should know the rules, especially before renewing your tenancy contract, because your landlord will likely increase the rent.
Decree No. 43 of 2013 governs rental increases for property in Dubai. It states whether a landlord can increase the rent and the percentage increase if allowed. The law justified a landlord’s ability to increase the rent, and it is based on whether your lease falls within the average rents for similar properties or not.
The Rental Increase Calculator can determine the rent increase by RERA. Knowing the rent increase can help you to avoid disputes.
Conditions Permitting Rental Increase
Under the Dubai Rental Price Index, landlords can decide to increase the rent with the following conditions:
- No increase if the rent increase calculator shows the current rent is within the stipulated range
- Increase rent by 5% when the rent falls between 11–20% less than the average for the location
- Increase by 10% when the rent is between 21–30% less than the average for the location
- Increase by 15% if the rent falls between 31–40% less than the average for the location
- Increase by 20% if the rent is less than 40% of the average for the location.
The Variables Affecting the Amount of Rent Increase
The variables influencing rent increases can be the following:
- Type of property–residential, commercial, or industrial
- Freehold or leasehold
- Villa or apartment
- Location of the property
- The number of bedrooms
The Notice Period for Rent Increase
You should not budge to the demand of your landlord to increase the rent immediately. However, you are not obligated to agree to it.
The landlord should provide you with a notice period of a minimum of 90 days before the expiry of the contract.
But, do not fail to ensure that the increase in the rent falls within the prescribed limits.
The Course of Action After Refusing Rent Increase
You can refuse the rent to increase your landlord demand. And if you do so, you must provide a minimum of 60 days notice period before the renewal date that you will be vacating the property.
Alternately, if you want to negotiate the rent increase with your landlord, you must issue a written request before the expiry of the tenancy contract.
Despite the room for disputes in a landlord-tenant relationship, there are effective ways to resolve them to preserve a good relationship while solving the issue amicably.