Can Dubai landlord raise rent in fire-damaged property?

I’ve been a tenant in my building for more than four years and each year I have willingly accepted any rental increase as per the regulations. This year, however, there was a large fire in my building which rendered the pool, spa and terrace area unusable, and the facade of my building is in disrepair. The affected areas will remain off limits until the construction works on the facade are fixed – the building management expects this will take up to a year. Considering I pay for these facilities as a part of my tenancy, and since these services are no longer available to me, is the landlord allowed to increase the rent now that my contract is up for renewal? Surely these facilities form part of the contract, and therefore since they’re unavailable, I have some sort of legal recourse? RA, Dubai

When we decide to rent a property the major part of our decision is based on the accommodation the property has to offer. But as you so rightly point out, the rent we pay is also based on the facilities and amenities that go with the property. Your question then is more of a moral dilemma than a legal one because I believe there are no provisions in law for instances where damage or breakdown to property has resulted in not being able to enjoy their use. The landlord has not broken the law by requesting a rental increase (assuming it is allowed by the RERA rent calculator) but what he has done is rub salt in your wound by wanting more money for the rent when the facilities are out of action. In your situation, you have a legitimate case to request a reduction in rent rather than an increase. I stress, however, that any solution has to be negotiated so I guess the outcome will depend on what sort of professional landlord/tenant relationship you currently have. Given that the reconstruction will take approximately one year to finish, I suggest you find a compromise, but if the landlord insists on his increase, you will have no alternative but to either accept or move out.

I rent a villa in Al Raha Gardens in Abu Dhabi and my lease expires in February. A few weeks ago, I was contacted directly by the landlord who said that he was selling the villa. Yesterday the new landlord verbally asked me to vacate the villa at the end of my lease because he wants to move in. What is the legal notice period in Abu Dhabi? Should the notice period be in writing? I know in Dubai the notice period must be in writing and it’s 12 months from the end of the existing lease. ND, Abu Dhabi


With reference to the tenancy law Article 20 (3), in the event that the landlord wishes to amend the conditions of the lease contract or indeed wants to terminate it all together, he has to notify the tenant in writing two months before the expiry of the agreement for residential properties and three months for commercial properties. Your new landlord verbally asking you to vacate at the end of your tenancy is not enough, he has to put in this request in writing as proof of communication to you of his intentions.

My landlord has just served me with a 12-month notice. However, my current contract doesn’t end until December 4. The date detailed on the eviction notice (delivered correctly) states August 17 and he is saying I need to vacate by August 17 2016. My understanding is that he can only serve the 12-month notice at the end of the current agreement (on December 4 this year) to vacate on December 4 next year. Am I correct as I am confused? BEY, Dubai

Your landlord should serve you the 12-month notice upon expiry of your tenancy agreement. Many landlords think that as long as they serve the 12-month notice (sent at any time), the tenant has to vacate after the expiry of such notice. This is simply not the case. The notice period is for a minimum of 12 months and in your case if your landlord has chosen to send you the notice from August 17 then that’s absolutely fine but your eviction date will be the end of your tenancy period in December 2016.

Mario Volpi works at Asteco property management and has over 30 years of experience in the real estate industry in Dubai and London. Send any questions to mariov@asteco.com

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

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