Dubai landlord trying every trick in the book to evict tenants
Our landlord is looking for every possible way to evict us (pretending she wanted to have the house for her own use because she doesn’t have any other solution). She gave us an “unnotarised notice” expecting us to leave. We didn’t say anything until we asked her to renew the lease. She told us that she gave us a notice but we knew the notice was not valid. She took us to court and we won. She made an appeal, and we won again. She was asked to pay all of our the expenses for that. So now here we are. After saying she wanted the house for herself, she now says she wants to sell it. We received some phone calls from agents but we refused to have visits. My questions are:
1) Is it OK for the landlord to change reason from “I want the house for me” to “I want to sell”?
2) If she sells, can we ask for proof of the sale?
3) If she sells, do we have a notice period? If yes, from when? Is it from the end of our existing contract or from the time of selling? How long would the notice period be? MT, Dubai
Legitimately, peoples’ circumstances do change so given your landlord has now stated she wants to sell when before she needed the property for her own use does seem odd but she has the right to request vacant possession under these circumstances.
Issuing a 12-month eviction notice to sell also raises some questions. For example, what happens to your tenancy if after the 12 months have elapsed she still has not sold? Can you stay on even after a sale has been made to an investor (i.e. they not needing to move in themselves)? These and many more questions are often open to interpretation but as per Law 33 of 2008, the notice has to be served upon expiry of your tenancy and then it must be sent via notary public or registered mail.
If she does sell the property, it is not unreasonable for you to request the details of the new buyer. For one reason, this person may become your future landlord. The important thing to also remember is that the new owner takes over your contract in its entirety, no changes are allowed, certainly not until the next term and even then the new owner would have to communicate these changes in writing, giving you at least 90 days’ notice.
Depending on who the buyer is (owner-occupier or investor) will determine how you should go about trying to remain in the property (assuming you wish to do so). If the new buyer wants to move in himself, the original notarised eviction notice will stand and you will have to vacate at the end of the 12 month-period. If, however, the buyer is an investor, try to negotiate remaining as the tenant by agreeing mutual terms on the new lease.
This is our first time renting a flat and we gave the landlord one month’s notice that we will not renew the contract. However, as per the contract we need to notify the landlord 90 days before. Now the owner has sent us an email asking for two month’s rent. What can we do about this? VA, Dubai
Irrespective of whether this is your first time renting, you do have obligations to fulfil and one of those obligations (as per the law) is that you have to inform your landlord of any changes to your contract by giving 90-day notice of the changes in writing. This clause is in place to allow plenty of time for (in your case) your landlord to find another tenant so eliminate the possibility of a void period.
A penalty of two month’s rent is normally only requested by a landlord if the tenant wishes to break the contract early so the fact that you will actually complete the tenancy will mean that you probably feel hard done by that the landlord is now wishing to charge you two month’s rent.
In my opinion, he is just looking for some compensation as you didn’t give the required notice. I’m not sure what your contract states but I suggest you negotiate with him and agree on some form of compensation. Look to help with finding a new tenant and be accommodating with future viewings. Perhaps you can agree on one month’s rent rather than the two that the landlord is requesting. Either way you must take responsibility about the lack of notice as you try to agree on an exit strategy.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org