July 4, 2022

UAE law: 12-month notice must to evict a tenant

Question: I purchased a villa in Dubai in February 2022. The property was occupied by a tenant since August 2020. He has a tenancy contract with the previous landlord till August 2022 (signed in August 2021). This contract does not look like it has been registered. As we intend to move to the property, we requested the tenant to vacate it by June 2022. However, he said he needs a 12-month notice as per Dubai tenancy regulations. He said he would move out by June 2022 only if I pay him Dh30,000 as compensation.

Following this, notice was served through notary to the tenant in March 2022 to vacate the premises by the end of the current contract, that is August 2022, citing our intention to move into the property.

Since the existing contract with the old owner is not registered with Ejari, is the 12-month notice period still valid? I do not intend to renew the contract further. Do I have any further grounds to get the property vacated by the end of the contract?

Since the tenant has not replied to my eviction notice 90 days before the end of the current contract, am I not eligible to get him vacated at the end of the current contract?

Response: Pursuant to your queries, the provisions Law No. 26 of 2007 Regulating the Relationship Between Landlords and Tenants in the Emirate of Dubai (the ‘Dubai Tenancy Law’) and those of Law No. 33 of 2008 Amending Law No. 26 of 2007 Regulating the Relationship Between Landlords and Tenants in the Emirate of Dubai (the ‘Amended Dubai Tenancy Law’) are applicable.

In Dubai, a tenancy contract between a property owner and a tenant needs to be registered with the Dubai Land Department (the ‘Ejari Registration’). This is in accordance with Article 4(2) of the Amended Dubai Tenancy Law, which states: “All Rent Contracts related to Real Property which is governed by the provisions of this Law, and any amendments thereto, shall be registered with RERA.”

However, the aforementioned Dubai Tenancy Law and Amended Dubai Tenancy Law are silent pertaining to validity of the tenancy contract without Ejari Registration. However, Dubai Rental Dispute Centre (the ‘RDC’) may register a case if there is no Ejari Registration.

In the event the owner intends to evict a tenant from a rented property on the grounds that he is seeking possession for his personal use or for the use of his first-degree family members, he needs to serve an eviction notice of 12 months through a notary. This is in accordance with Article 25(2)(c) of the Amended Dubai Tenancy Law, which states: “Upon expiry of the Rent Contract, the Landlord may seek eviction of the Tenant from the Real Property only if:

c. the Real Property owner wishes to retake possession of the Real Property for his own use or for use by any of his first-degree relatives, provided that the owner proves that he does not own any alternative Real Property that is suitable for this purpose;

For the purposes of paragraph (2) of this Article, the Landlord must notify the Tenant of the eviction reasons at least twelve (12) months before the date of eviction, and the notice must be served through a Notary Public or by registered mail.”

Further, the tenancy contract between the new owner and the tenant continues to be valid even if the ownership is transferred. This is in accordance with Article 28 of the Dubai Tenancy Law.

Based on the aforementioned provisions of law, as a property owner it is mandatory for you to serve 12 months of eviction notice. Based on the notarised notice, you may approach the RDC and file a case against the tenant if he fails to vacate the rented property on or before the expiry date of current tenancy contract.

Alternatively, you may pay the compensation amount as sought by the tenant to vacate the property for an amicable settlement.