What happens if Dubai tenant stays in property without signing new contract on expiry?

What steps can I take as the landlord if the tenant has not signed a renewal contract and continues to occupy the flat beyond the expiry date of the tenancy? The contract has the following standard clause: “If the tenant does not renew the tenancy on expiry date he will have to pay the rent as demanded.” RS, Dubai

The law states that (unless otherwise agreed) a contract automatically renews under the same terms and conditions as before, therefore even if your tenant has not officially signed the renewal contract, it is still legal due to the above statement. That said, a renewal contract does also have to come with the rent payment. If your tenant has not yet paid the rent, the next procedure for you is as follows: a written notification has to be given to the tenant explaining that they have 30 days to pay the outstanding rental amount. If after this period, the rent remains outstanding, you can then proceed to file a case at the rental dispute committee.

I have a query regarding a notice served to me by the manager of the property I live in under Power of Attorney from the owner. The owner, with whom I had signed the tenancy contract, has sold the residential unit I live in to another person. I co-operated completely to arrange the viewing for the new owner – then the prospective buyer. The property manager then served me the eviction notice, which doesn’t mention the new owner’s name. I haven’t signed a new tenancy contract with the new owner. The notice explicitly states that I should vacate on or before 12 months from the date of the notice. The date of notice is October 2016 and my contract renewal with the old owner happened in August 2016. My queries are:

1. Is the notice valid since it was served two months after contract renewal (with the old owner) and there is no new contract with the new owner as yet?

2. Since I have been served notice to vacate, and since the notice states to vacate on or before 12 months, can I vacate before 12 months from date of notice or before my current contract expires without any penalty and get the remaining cheques back (I have given four quarterly cheques) and advance pro-rata rent back? The contract does not mention anything on early termination or penalties upon early termination. HA, Dubai

The notice you kindly sent as an attachment is a Dubai court notarised notice of 12 months but I do question it. You mention that the landlord has sold the unit and yet the notarised notice states non-renewal of tenancy for reason of personal use. On this point alone, I believe you may be able to question the validity.

With reference to the timing of the notice, this is a moot point. Law 33 of 2008 states that the 12-month notice should be served upon expiry of the tenancy agreement. You rightly pointed out that the notice given was served two months after the renewal. The answer to this point lies with the judge at the rental dispute centre (should you file a case). The law is not set by precedent, it is up to the judge to interpret it.

You are most definitely allowed to have 12 months notice to vacate. I therefore believe that a judge would require the contract to be extended by the two months to enable you to vacate by October 2017 if this is your wish. Even after a sale, your current tenancy automatically continues under the same terms and conditions as before. All parties can decide to rewrite a new contract to take into consideration the new owner’s details.

With reference to when you can actually vacate, this is entirely up to you and the new landlord to decide. It is clear that by selling and sending the 12-month notification to vacate, the old and new owner agreed to your vacating as early as possible for whatever reason. Therefore if you wish to also vacate early and your contract does not state any early vacating clauses, technically you just need to get the landlord to accept this.

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.