#iknowmyrights | A new tenant moving into your home?!

We figured something a little extreme, would grab your attention.

Whats this about?

dubizzle launched an educational initiative to help you, a part of the UAE’s growing diverse population, know your rights on matters of the property law. Though extreme, the situation portrayed in this video is meant to demonstrate confusion between landlord, tenant and potential new tenants that could arise due to lack of understanding of the law. Here, we hope to raise awareness on Dubai tenants’ rights on matters of tenancy agreement renewals, and whether you must feel pressurized to agree to new terms proposed to you by your landlord if you’re close to the end of your contract. This post should help give you some clarity.

Lets get to the story..

Meet Ahmed; the guy in the boxers

  • A Dubai tenant
  • Lives alone
  • Currently renting out a villa in Jumeirah
  • Been living there for almost 3 years
  • Works as a freelance content marketer and yoga instructor

Whats his story?

  • To kick off the weekend, Ahmed invited his friends over to his bachelor pad on a late Thursday night over some PlayStation rivalry and an overdose of pizza.
  • His Friday morning was reserved for being “dressed-down” and enjoying some personal space. Something he didn’t seem to get much of…
  • He’s been living there for a while. His landlord, who lives abroad, wanted to increase his rent a month before the end of the contract. The tenant refused. His landlord said he wanted him to leave the villa so new tenants could move in and pay the rent price increase.
  • Coming to the close of his 3rd year in the villa, he anticipated an automatic contract renewal as nothing else has been conveyed to him.

Then this happened..

Meet the Laila & Tarek, the traumatized couple

  • Also Dubai tenants
  • Newly wed
  • Moving into their “new” Jumeirah villa
  • A fresh start
  • Both working on a family business

 

Whats their story?

  • They’ve been thinking of starting fresh and they finally found a perfect villa for themselves and their dog.
  • They signed off a tenancy contract, not yet registered with Ejari.
  • They had seen the villa when Ahmed was absent as the agent had a spare key.
  • They decided to kick-start their move a week earlier and drop off some boxes as their agent handed them a key to the villa upon receiving the post-dated cheques.
  • The agent mentioned that the tenant would have moved out a week prior to the start of the tenancy agreement and that DEWA would be set-up within that week.
  • The agent’s phone was switched off after the post-dated cheques were handed over.
  • Surprise, surprise!

 

What was actioned by all parties? Well well tell you

  • The landlord of the property sent the existing tenant, Ahmed, an SMS message 1 month before the end of the contract stating that he wanted to increase the rent by 10% as its price was currently far below the market value. He told Ahmed that he would have to vacate if he couldn’t afford it as other people wanted it.
  • The tenant, Ahmed, double-checked  the rent price increase by using the RERA calculator to gauge if the increase estimate was fair. It said a 5% increase was applicable for a villa such as his. So he communicated this with his landlord, over a phone call and was told he had to abide by it or leave and that the contract would not be renewed if the new cheques did not reflect the 10% increase. The landlord then stopped responding to Ahmed’s text messages and emails. Ahmed filed a dispute with the rent dispute settlement committee, as he could not get through to the agent or landlord and submitted his post-dated cheques, and existing Ejari contract to them reflecting the rental price stated in his existing contract.
  • The new tenants signed an agreement and issued post-dated cheques in the name of the agent when it should have been made out to the landlord. A big no no! They didn’t insist for the agent to handover the release papers from DEWA of the old tenant’s cleared bill as they figured the agent would take care of it.

What did Ahmed, the existing tenant know?

Key learnings:

(Probably something you should know too! :))

  • If your landlord wishes to raise your rent, you must be given 3 months notice of this change for it to be enforceable. Read more here.
  • That the price increase should be in line with the RERA calculator
  • If your landlord wants to evict you, you must be given 12 months written notice sent via the notary public or registered mail.
  • By not abiding to the new rent increase, Ahmed was still allowed to reside in his home because eviction notices have to be given at least 12 months prior and should state a valid reason according to the law. Read more here.

Why the confusion?

In this case, the landlord, who lived overseas, did not create a new contract for the old tenant, Ahmed, because he wanted to benefit from a higher rent price that a new tenant would be willing to pay. So, he found new tenants, and created a new contract for them as they accepted the 20% increase not knowing that he had not given his/her tenant a valid rent increase or eviction notice period.

Does this really happen?

Nope! There are several factors that need to be settled before a new tenant moves in. Such as obtaining DEWA or Empower release papers of the old tenant, and registering the Ejari contract in the new tenants name. Also a new tenant would normally check that the apartment is cleaned up and re-painted, and that all the snags are fixed before moving in. This video shows an extreme situation to get you curious about the property law in Dubai.

Other related things to know:

  • What if the tenant is given an accurate rent increase notice 3 months prior to the end of the tenancy contract but doesn’t agree with it? He has to leave and find a new home.
  • Does the landlord have the right to sign a new tenancy contract with another tenant to begin on expiry of the old tenants contract, if he has given a valid rent increase notice and the old tenant has not signed the new contract? Yes he can.
  • Are contracts automatically renewable if a tenant has not been legally informed of new terms and signed for them? Click here to know more.

Hope you found this useful.

Have a great day, stay safe and always know your rights.

 

Click here to know more about your property rights in Abu Dhabi and Dubai whether you’re a tenant, landlord, seller or buyer. There are videos, common Q&As, and guidelines that are quite easy to digest and you’d be surprised at what you wish you knew sooner!

This is an educational initiative brought to you by dubizzle in partnership with MIO Law firm