Dubai residents and property expert left bemused by eviction notice law

After reading a recent column of yours advising a landlord, I was intrigued by one sentence: “Please remember to serve the eviction notice upon expiry of the tenancy agreement as per law 33 of 2008, article 25, section 2.” In my case, the landlord asked for an increase of 25 per cent last year which I refused by referencing the Rera calculator that only allows a 5 per cent increase. We renewed the contract (rent unchanged) and he served me an eviction notice through public notary service two months after renewal. Is this legal regarding your statement? Shouldn’t he have given me that notice in the moment of renewing? My contract will expire in a couple of days and I’ve been given a chance to extend the lease for these two months but after that (exactly 12 months after receiving the notice) I need to move away. Is there any way to stay in the apartment? IA, Dubai

I get this question asked time and time again.

There seems to be much confusion in the market as to when a landlord can serve the 12 months eviction notice legally. In fact, I recently spoke about this on radio and there was a disagreement between myself and one of the other radio panellists, a competent real estate lawyer, as to the correct timing of the notice.

I believe the wording of the law is clear but its interpretation is not, ultimately though it is up to the courts to decide who is correct. The fact that the law is not set upon precedent can sometimes add to the confusion in this particular situation, so allow me to explain further.

In the past, I advised the public that the timing of the 12 months notice for a landlord to evict a tenant for prescribed reasons could be served at any time as long as the notice was sent either via notary public or registered mail and that the notice was for at least the 12 months. In January this year, however, I received a letter from a landlord who wished to move back into his rented property so he served the proper 12 months notice, via notary public to his tenant. But the tenant challenged him via the rental committee because he served it six months before the expiry of the agreement. The rental committee found in favour of the tenant because the notarised 12 months notification was not served upon expiry of the agreement, so he lost the case.

Law 33 of 2008 states: “Landlord may demand eviction of tenant upon expiry of tenancy contract limited to the following cases.”

The reasons a landlord can demand eviction of tenant upon expiry of tenancy contract limited to the following cases;

a) If the owner wishes to demolish the property for reconstruction or to add new constructions that prevent the tenant from benefiting from leased property, provided necessary licences are obtained.

b) If the property requires renovation or comprehensive maintenance which cannot be executed while tenant is occupying the property, provided that a technical report issued by Dubai Municipality or accredited by it is to be submitted.

c) If the owner of the property wishes to recover the property for use by him personally or by his next of kin of first degree provided that he proves that he does not own a suitable alternative property.

d) If the owner of the property wishes to sell the leased property.

Law 33 goes on to say: “And for the purpose of clause (2) of this article, landlord must notify tenant with reasons for eviction at least 12 months prior to the determined date of eviction subject that such notice be sent through notary public or by registered mail”.

So to interpret this;

1. Eviction can surely only happen upon expiry of tenancy contract, not in the middle of it.

2. Twelve months notice must be given at least 12 months before the eviction date (which surely can only be the expiry of the tenancy contract).

The issue now is that this same interpretation of giving the notice at any time is still very much out in the market.

For every case heard at the rental committee, there are different outcomes depending on their respected circumstances. In fact if you were to call Rera they will inform you that the 12 months notice can indeed be served at any time. This in my opinion is not what the law states. Upon expiry of the tenancy agreement is not at any time, it is upon expiry. The real solution, as in most cases going through judicial proceedings, lies with the courts and the judges. It is they, who ultimately have the final word.

Therefore, for IA, according to my interpretation his landlord did not send the 12 months notice upon expiry of the agreement so I don’t believe it is valid. He will need to file a case at the rental committee.

Mario Volpi has worked in the real estate industry in Dubai and in London for the past 30 years. Send any questions to

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

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