Does Abu Dhabi tenant made redundant have to pay rental penalty for moving out early?

I have had my job terminated by my company in Abu Dhabi and therefore did not give a two-month notice to my landlord due to the sudden situation. Now the manager of the apartment is asking me to vacate when the contract finishes and pay a two-month penalty. Do I have any rights if my job has been terminated? IB, Abu Dhabi

I can appreciate the stress your situation has caused you and obviously sympathise. My advice would be to try to come to some form of agreement with the landlord. See if you can either arrange a face-to-face meeting or a telephone call at the very least. If this is not possible then a meeting with the manager may help. Although he is not the decision-maker, maybe he can put your case forward to the owner. The law states that for a contract termination you do have to give two months’ notice, but often tenants do manage to find a compromise with their landlords if this notice period has been missed. It is for this reason that I am suggesting a meeting for you to explain. Ultimately, if the landlord is not prepared to meet you, let’s say halfway, then unfortunately there is little you can do and regrettably you will still have to pay the penalty. If this happens it will seem that this will add insult to injury at a time when you will require some understanding or support.

My tenancy contract will be expiring in three months. By contract I have to notify the landlord 90 days prior to expiry in case I want to renew the tenancy. What if the landlord refuses to renew? Can I still stay in the apartment and if yes, for how long? IB, Dubai

The 90-day rule is in place to ensure that either party inform each other of any changes to the contract. Believe it or not, you do not have to actually inform your landlord that you wish to renew, having said that, it is clearly polite and an expected form of communication if indeed you do wish to continue to live in the property.

The landlord is legally bound to renew with you each year. There are only a few reasons allowed for him not to. These include: if he wishes to move into the property himself or his immediate next of kin or if he wishes to sell or if he has to make such remedial works to the property that would make it difficult for a tenant to live there or lastly, if the property requires demolition. For the past two reasons, the landlord would require a technical report granted from the concerned authorities.

In the case of all these reasons, the landlord would also have to give you a 12 months’ written notice to vacate which must be sent either by registered mail or notary public.

I hope you can clearly see that you ought to be able to renew without any issues. But it is polite to inform the landlord of your intentions – if nothing else, it will help to remain on positive terms with the owner.

Mario Volpi is the chief sales officer for Kensington Exclusive Properties and has worked in the property industry for the past 32 years in London and Dubai. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and they do not reflect in any way those of the institutions to which he is affiliated. It does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only. Please send any questions to mario.volpi@kensington.ae.

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