Dubai tenant faces second rent hike in two months to alter name on contract

I have been renting my apartment in the Layan Community in Dubailand since 2012, just after I got married. I would now like to change my maiden name to my husband’s name. My landlord has informed me that while I have already renewed the tenancy contract with a 15 per cent increase two months ago, if I decide to change my name I would be treated as a new tenant. That would mean I would have no Rera calculator protection and automatic application of the maximum actual market price. I cannot understand why. It might be reasonable if we wanted to change the contract to my husband’s name, but the change is only in my surname. I am and will still be the same tenant and person … my biodata does not change. Rera informed me that I should report a complaint. I do not want to until I know what the legal situation is. PK, Dubai

I am in agreement with you; what your landlord is saying makes no logical sense. The only thing I can think of that might work is that you both have a 90-day notice window prior to the expiration of your agreement to make any changes or alterations to the contract. If this notice period is missed and it may seem as though it has, given your dates, then I would just renew as per normal now, using your maiden name but look to make this change 90 days before the next renewal next year, assuming you want to stay in the property then.

Lastly, if this is not convenient then I would take this further with the rental committee as your landlord’s case is ridiculous.

What exactly does subletting mean? Does it refer to a tenant allowing his friend to stay in his apartment at the same rent as per agreement? Secondly, how can subletting be proved to the authorities and what is the procedure to defend such a complaint if it is raised by a landlord. Finally what are the fines or penalties for subletting? ZUH, Dubai

Subletting is the leasing of part or all of the property held by a tenant as opposed to a landlord during a portion of his or her unexpired balance of the term of occupancy. Subletting as such, is not illegal, as long as you get authorisation from the landlord to do so, therefore it is only illegal if it is done without the consent of the landlord. You have to abide by the agreed tenancy contract and I’m sure that there will be a clause that states subletting is not allowed. I know it can be difficult to prove one is subletting but difficulties arise when complaints are made to the landlord about the number of occupants or noise for example. If caught, you can be evicted for breach of agreement. My advice would be not to engage in such activities unless the landlord is informed.

Are non renewable rental contracts enforceable? I have a landlord who is using it to up my rent by 25 per cent after four years. SD, Dubai

Non-renewable clauses in tenancy agreements are not legal and not enforceable. Furthermore, your landlord cannot increase the rent by 25 per cent as the most allowed by law in any one given year is 20 per cent. Even then, this increase has to be communicated to you in writing giving you at least 90 days’ notice from the expiry of your agreement and only if it was permissible by the Rera rental calculator.

Mario Volpi is the managing director of Ocean View Real Estate and has worked in the industry in the emirate 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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