Tenants are frequently confronted with requests of their
landlords regarding rental increase, reimbursement of service
charges and maintenance costs or termination of the tenancy
contract. Despite the fact that landlords make unjustified demands
in many cases, tenants often give in - mostly for fear of receiving
a termination notice and due to lack of knowledge of the actual
legal situation. Are you aware of your rights as a tenant in Dubai?
We will now answer the most frequent questions:
When is my landlord allowed to increase the rent?
The landlord may only increase the annual rent if two
requirements are met. On the one hand, the landlord must notify the
tenant of his intention to increase the rent in a timely manner,
i.e. at least 90 days prior to the expiry of the current tenancy
contract unless a different period has been agreed upon in the
tenancy contract. On the other hand, the landlord must be entitled
to ask for a higher rent. Whether the landlord has such a right at
all and whether the particular amount is justified, can be verified
online through the so-called Rental Increase Calculator of the
Dubai Land Department.
Can my landlord demand that I compensate him for services
charges or maintenance costs?
Generally, tenants are only responsible for paying their
consumption-based utilities, such as electricity, water and
cooling. Other expenses, especially service charges levied by the
owners' association, have to be settled by the landlord. The
same holds true for costs accrued for the maintenance of the rented
premises. Provided that no agreement to the contrary is included in
the tenancy contract, for example the responsibility of the tenant
to settle minor maintenance costs up to a certain maximum amount,
the landlord has to disburse any expenditures of this nature and is
not entitled to pass them on to the tenant.
In which instances is my landlord allowed to terminate the
For the duration of the tenancy contract, the landlord can only
validly serve a termination notice if the tenant is, despite being
prompted to do so, not paying the annual rent in full, is
subleasing the premises or parts thereof without the approval of
the landlord, is using the premises for illegal activities or is in
breach of contract. Upon expiry of the tenancy contract, the
landlord may only terminate the tenancy if one of four reasons
stipulated in the law applies, such as the recovery for personal
use or the intention to sell. In such cases, the landlord has to
notify the tenant of his reason for the termination in writing by
registered mail or notarial delivery at least twelve months prior
to the desired eviction date. Ultimately, however, the landlord may
only evict the tenant against his will after having obtained a
respective title from the Rental Dispute Settlement Centre.
As Heba Osman explains, in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis, many employers in the UAE turned to descoping large parts of construction works as a quick exit strategy from uncompleted projects. Other employers resorted to termination.
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