United Arab Emirates: Tenancy Law Of Abu Dhabi And Its Amendments - January 2018

Last Updated: 12 January 2018
Article by STA Law Firm
Most Read Contributor in United Arab Emirates, December 2017

Tenancy Law is one of the most important aspects of societies' life by means of which individuals' rights and duties are determined. Besides, it also sets guiding principle for interactions among individuals in general and for resolving disputes thereof in particular. Tenancy law is considered to be the backbone of every individual's daily life as it is a tool regulating tenants' and landlords' (collectively referred as Parties) transactions through tenancy executed contract. Further, tenancy law has been amended from time to time to bring it in line with current circumstances in addition to the market and social demands thereof.

In this article, we seek to accentuate the tenancy law of Abu Dhabi; its latest amendments and further regulations setting out the obligations of the landlords and tenants in accordance with terms of the law.

Tenancy law was not exclusively set out in single legislation or act in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. However, we may say that it is a group of laws regulating the rental relation between the Parties either for residential, commercial or industrial purposes by means of establishing certain mechanisms. It also outlines all procedural steps surrounding these collaborations between the contractual parties as well as setting out the penalty of going against the rules already laid down.

In 2006, Abu Dhabi Law Number 20 was issued to regulate the relation between landlord and tenant on matters such as increasing rental prices and evicting the tenant from the property. Before the amended Law Number 4 of 2010, landlords could not demand tenants to vacate the rented property upon expiration of their tenancy contract. However, circumstances have changed after the below amendments.

The main amendments to the law number 20 of 2006 (the Tenancy Law) include the following:

  • Abu Dhabi law number 4 of 2010;

This law entitled the landlord to seek eviction of the tenant from the property upon expiration of their tenancy contract and further the landlord may also refuse renewal of the contract. A rent cap of 5% was applicable; however, tenants were subject to 5% increase in rent upon renewal of the contract without previous intimation to the tenant. This 5% cap is removed due to further amendments.

  • Head of Judicial Department Resolution Number 10 of 2010 on Lease Dispute Resolution Committees and the applicable procedures before such committees

Under the provisions of law, a Dispute Resolution Committees (the Committee) will be formed, where the committee will be chaired by a judge. The Committee will have the power to urgently resolve the matter arising out of the lease relationship between the landlord and the tenant and to settle temporary procedures submitted by either party. The Arabic Language will be used before the Committee and the Committee will hear the claims and defenses of litigants, witnesses, and any other person, who is ignorant of the Arabic language through an interpreter.

  • Abu Dhabi Executive Council number 4 of 2011 on rules and procedures of registration of tenancy contracts in the emirate of Abu Dhabi:

Abu Dhabi Executive Council number 4 of 2011 introduced rules and procedures for landlords to register their tenancy contracts at the Abu Dhabi Municipality (ADM). The resolution introduced a system upon which the ADM establishes and keeps a registry of tenancy contracts including all data related to the leased property which is known as the ADM's tawtheeq system. In addition, all tenancy contracts existing or entered between the parties after the implementation of this resolution shall be registered at the ADM. The tenancy contracts must be in English and Arabic or only Arabic language while registering it with the Tawtheeq registry system of the ADM.

Considering the above provisions, the ADM, shall only consider tenancy contracts registered under the provisions of this resolution, any transaction requiring a tenancy contract shall not be accepted and shall be dismissed if the contract is not registered in the tawtheeq registry system of the ADM. The resolution is applicable to all residential, commercial units and industrial units.

  • Administrative Resolution Number 12 of 2012 on Controls of Occupancy of Housing Units in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi;

Housing property is defined under the law as the property or any part thereof prepared for the lease and use it as domicile that provides a person with residence, living, basic daily life needs including a bathroom, kitchen and at least one bedroom. Also, the Resolution prohibits the occupancy of one housing unit by two families.

  • Administrative Resolution Number 13 of 2012, on Executive Resolution Law 1 of 2011 on Regulation of occupancy of Housing Units and use of property allocated for citizens in Emirate of Abu Dhabi:

The Resolution does not allow the following buildings to be rented out:

  1. Buildings built in farms and manors;
  2. Public housings and other additional housing units;
  3. Public housing that has been demolished and rebuilt upon a license issued by the government;
  4. Housing units built on residential lands that have been licensed upon the owner's request for special social causes
  • Abu Dhabi Executive Council Decision issued law number 32 issued in 2012:

This Executive Council Decision removed the rent cap of 5% and grants landlords the liberty to raise the price as per the market rates for their interest. However, the Tenancy Law also provides for rules concerning notice periods required in case the landlord seeks to evict the tenant or seeks to raise rental amount or any modifications in the contract. The landlords must notify the tenant by giving two months notice by issuing an evacuation/eviction Notice or a prior note stating the proposed modification in the contract and indicating the specific alteration the landlord desires to apply. For commercial properties, the notice period is deemed to be of minimum 3 months. It is pertinent to note that in case the landlord does not serve an eviction or rent increment notice during the above course of time before renewal, the contract shall be deemed to be automatically renewed with the same price and same terms.

  • President of the Executive Council's Resolution Number 32 of 2012 on Premises Lease Contracts:

The Resolution mentions that the annual increment of the rental specified in the lease contract as mentioned under Article 16 of Law Number 20 of 2006, shall not exceed five percent (5%), provided that the rental should be evaluated as of 10 November 2013 as agreed between both the parties.

  • Administrative Resolution Number 97 of 2012, on Mechanism of Registration of Lease Contract in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi:

The Administrative Resolution Number 97 of 2012 has laid down the provisions concerning the mechanism related to the registration of lease contract in Abu Dhabi. The Resolution authorizes the Abu Dhabi Municipality to prepare a special record to register lease contracts which must contain the data related to the property used for residential, commercial, or industrial purposes as well as the records of the occupants for the residential property plus the landlord and tenant's data. The Municipality will also prepare a unified manual on procedures required for registration and can amend it when it deems necessary. The Municipality is also authorized to collect registration fees of lease contracts subject to the following:

  • In the case of replacement of the tenant in the same land premises, the current contract shall terminate and both the parties shall make new contract upon the payment of fees;
  • Registration fees for the property and units should be made in one payment as follows:
    1. AED 1,000 per building on one lot of land and AED 5,000 per lease unit;
    2. AED 1,000 for all villas built on one lot of land and AED 5,000 per lease unit.
  • The prevailing lease contracts made before the issuance of this Resolution shall be exempted from the registration fees where their fees are to be only collected upon renewal.
  • Abu Dhabi Council Resolution Number 13 of 2016 on housing fee:

The Abu Dhabi Council issued a Resolution Number 13 of 2016 in February 2016 whereby the Municipality will charge a 3% housing fee on an annual rent. The fee will be charged on all the housing units in Abu Dhabi. Also, the responsibility to pay the housing fee will be on the tenants and will not be considered as services charge which is payable to owners of the building.

  • jAbu Dhabi Council Resolution Number 14 of 2016 on Lease Agreements of Premises concerning the reintroduction of the annual rental cap of 5%:

The Tenancy law introduced a 5% rental cap on the lease agreement, however, the cap was abolished on 9 November 2013, but the cap has again been reinstated under the Abu Dhabi Council Resolution Number 14 of 2016 with an effect from 13 December 2016. Under the Council resolution, both the parties can fix the rent for the lease term, upon agreement, however, if the rent is not decided then the landlord has the authority to increase the rent annually.

  • Tenancy Law amendment of 20 November 2017:

The resolution states that the decision of the Abu Dhabi Rental Disputes settlement committee will be final and binding upon the parties if the claim amount in the dispute is below AED 50,000 (UAE Dirham fifty thousand). However, if the claim amount exceeds AED 50,000 (UAE Dirham fifty thousand), the parties can file for an appeal in the Court of Appeal within 15 days starting from the next day of judgment or from the next day of judgment notification, if the judgment is an absent judgment.

Additionally, the parties also have the right to file an appeal before the Court of Cassation within 30 days from the next day of the appeal judgment or from the next day of judgment notification if the judgment is an absent judgment, subjected that the claim amount exceeds AED 300,000 (UAE Dirham three hundred thousand).

Key Notes:

1. Tenancy Period:

  • The lease contract shall be valid to the end of the period specified in the contract and the period may be renewed for additional period/s as agreed between the parties.
  • If the contract term expires and the tenant keeps making use of the leased premises without objection from the landlord, then the contract shall be deemed to renewed for the same period and same conditions.
  • If either party wishes not to renew the contract; or to adjust the conditions, such party shall notify the other party in writing, two months prior to its termination for residential properties and two months prior to termination of the contract for commercial industrial or professional properties.
  • The landlord may not ask the tenant to vacate the leased property on the basis of the expiration of the period before 9th November 2012 (specified date), and this date may be renewed upon a decision of the president of the Executive Council as he may deem appropriate.
  • The committee has the right to decide on vacating the leased premises before the date specified if the occupation of the leased property by the tenant causes gross damage to the landlord provided that the tenant has made use of such premises for not less than two (2) years. In such case, the landlord shall not grant more than six (6) months to vacate the leased property date of resolution of the Committee.
  • Upon the decision of President of the Executive Council, rules and procedures on registration of lease contracts related to property existed in the Emirate shall be developed.

2. The following procedures must be adhered to:

  • Ensure that the landlord has registered his property at ADM by reviewing the registration certificate.
  • Seek the tenancy contract for your review. Examine all terms and conditions especially those pertaining to tenancy period, rental amount, maintenance and other fees.

Eventually, it should be noted that in case a dispute occurs between the landlord i.e. owner or real estate/property management company and the tenant, it would not be possible to submit dispute application to the Rent Dispute Settlement Committee unless the tenancy contract is registered with ADM tawtheeq system. Accordingly, it is advisable to make sure that the tenancy contract is signed and registered. To state in précise, the Tenancy Law is a security for the rights of both the parties whether the party is the landlord (owner/ property management company) or the tenant.

  • Abu Dhabi Executive Council Decision issued law number 32 issued in 2012:

This Executive Council Decision removed the rent cap of 5% and grants landlords the liberty to raise the price as per the market rates for their interest. However, the Tenancy Law also provides for rules concerning notice periods required in case the landlord seeks to evict the tenant or seeks to raise rental amount or any modifications in the contract. The landlords must notify the tenant by giving two months notice by issuing an evacuation/eviction Notice or a prior note stating the proposed modification in the contract and indicating the specific alteration the landlord desires to apply. For commercial properties, the notice period is deemed to be of minimum 3 months. It is pertinent to note that in case the landlord does not serve an eviction or rent increment notice during the above course of time before renewal, the contract shall be deemed to be automatically renewed with the same price and same terms.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration
Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:
  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.
  • Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.
    If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here
    If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here

    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

    Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

    Use of www.mondaq.com

    You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

    Disclaimer

    Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

    The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

    Registration

    Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

    • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
    • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
    • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

    Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

    Information Collection and Use

    We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

    We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

    Mondaq News Alerts

    In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

    Cookies

    A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

    Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

    Log Files

    We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

    Links

    This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

    Surveys & Contests

    From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

    Mail-A-Friend

    If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

    Emails

    From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

    *** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .

    Security

    This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

    Correcting/Updating Personal Information

    If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

    Notification of Changes

    If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

    How to contact Mondaq

    You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

    If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.

    By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions