As a tenant in Dubai, it is crucial to be aware of rental laws and your rights to avoid any unpleasant scenarios or misunderstandings that may occur between you and your landlord. Both the landlord and the tenant should abide by the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA) Dubai Rental Law, which aims to regulate the civil relationship between renters and landlords in the emirates. The tenancy contract serves as a framework that states what you can do and contains all the necessary information regarding your rented property so it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with it thoroughly.
Here are the important rights and obligations of tenants and landlords stated in the Dubai Tenancy Law that every renter in Dubai needs to know before deciding to rent a property:
- This is a no brainer, but the landlord is bound by the law to hand over a home that is in good livable condition to a new tenant, unless in the rare cases where the tenant decides to lease an unfinished property and complete it themselves. So before signing any contracts, the tenant must make sure all the facilities are in good working condition and the works and repairs are complete.
- During the term of the contract, the landlord must take full responsibility of the maintenance works and repair any defects or damages that may compromise the tenant’s living condition, unless both the parties agree otherwise, as stated in Article 16.
- The landlord cannot make any changes to the property or any of its facilities that may hinder the resident from full use of the property. Nevertheless, according to Article 17, landlords can proceed to renovate the property at the discretion of the tenant, especially if it’s for enhancing the property.
- The landlord can amend the rent during the renewal of the tenancy contract, but the increase must fall within the parameters of the RERA rental brackets which differ depending on the location and type of the rented property.
- If tenants want to execute any renovation or decoration works on the property, they must reach out to the landlord for approval by filling out the documents required. However, according to Article 19, tenants should keep in mind the renovations should not affect the structure of the property in any way unless they have specific approvals from the landlord and obtain any required licenses from sanctioned entities.
- At the time of renting the property, the tenant is required to pay the landlord a security deposit provided that the landlord refunds the deposit back upon the expiry of the tenancy contract. To get back your deposit in full when you vacate the property, you need to make sure the property is returned in the same state as you first moved in. The landlord can only refuse to pay back the deposit in full if there are any major damages to the property. If the landlord declines to pay back the deposit in full even though there aren’t any damages or you think there has been any unfair deduction, you can raise the complaint with the rent dispute committee as per Article 20.
- In case of eviction, the tenant must be notified of the reason 12 months prior to the date set for eviction. In the event a landlord prohibits the tenant from entering/ using the property without any prior legal notice, the renter should file a complaint in the nearest police station and file a case to the rent dispute committee by providing supporting documents for the remuneration of any damages
- If the landlord unfairly increases the rent or you cannot reach a mutual settlement, tenants can raise a dispute with the Rental Dispute Settlement Centre
A tenant can be evicted prior to the expiration of the rental contract if they:
- Fail to pay the rent within 30 days of being served a notice by the landlord
- Cause changes to the property without informing the landlord
- Sublease the property without the landlord’s official signed approval
- Fail to conform to the conditions of the law or the tenancy contract
- Use the property for purposes other than what it was leased for
Keeping all this in mind, it is best to maintain a good relationship with your landlord and communicate with them regularly about any property related issues, so you’re always on the same page. Also, make sure to read the fine print of your tenancy contract and keep up to date with the new property laws to ensure you are well informed and adequately protected.
So these are the rules as they stand now and which are important for all tenants to understand. However, 2020 has created challenges for many and we are hearing of landlords being flexible to secure or keep good tenants. While bending the rules isn’t always possible, it’s always worth having an honest conversation with your landlord if your circumstances have changed amidst the coronavirus pandemic.