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How long does it take for the Dubai Courts to issue a final judgment?
There is typically no set time frame for the resolution of a dispute at Dubai Courts as the facts and circumstances of each case can vary considerably.
In most situations, it takes three to five years to reach the final conclusion of a case matter if judgments are appealed at each stage of litigation.
Generally, the Court of First Instance issues judgments within six to 12 months; the Court of Appeal issues judgments within six to eight months; the Court of Cassation issues judgments within six months; and the execution of the final judgment of the Court of Cassation can take up to four months.
But, of course, if the Court of First Instance’s judgment is not disputed, the final judgments of certain cases might conclude faster.
If my landlord intends to sell the apartment I rent, am I eligible to renew my tenancy agreement for a full year?
If your landlord intends to sell the property, he can evict you at the end of your tenancy agreement provided he gives you a 12-month notice according to Law No. 33 of 2008, Article 25(c).
You are, therefore, eligible to stay in the apartment for one year after he gives you a notice of his intention to evict you because of the sale.
The 12-month notice period applies irrespective of when your lease expires. For example, if your lease expires on December 31 and your landlord gives you notice on September 30, the earliest day that the landlord can demand you to move out of the property is on September 29 of the following year.
If the apartment is sold during the term of your lease, the new landlord will be required to abide by the terms of your agreement with the previous landlord as per Law 26 of 2007, Article 28.
My landlord is demanding a rent increase of nearly 20% since the building is in DIFC and the limitations I’ve heard about in other parts of town don’t apply here. Is he correct?
He is correct. The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) freehold is not subject to the Dubai Municipality tenancy laws.
In general, Dubai real property laws do not apply within the DIFC zone according to DIFC Law No. 4 of 2007. DIFC has its own property laws, including those regulating tenancy issues. The DIFC tenancy laws, in turn, do not set limitations on rent increases.
As such, landlords are free to increase rents irrespective of the RERA rent index. But parties can agree on the applicable rent increase in the tenancy contract.
It is imperative, therefore, to clearly address the potential and applicable rent increase before signing the agreement. That agreement, in turn, would be subject to the jurisdiction of the DIFC Courts.
Can my landlord evict me from my apartment to use it for himself even if he owns other properties?
The landlord can request the property back if he intends to use if for himself or his next of kin as long as he gives the tenant a 12-month notice stating the reason. The fact that the landlord owns other properties does not preclude him from claiming the house you rent. You can, however, use this as an argument to the Rent Committee if you believe that the landlord is misrepresenting his intentions.
Under Dubai Law No. 33 of 2008, Article 25(c), the landlord must prove that “he does not own a suitable alternative property for that purpose.” The burden of proof is on him to convince the committee that his intentions are sincere.
Furthermore, he must live in that property for at least two years afterwards. If later it turns out that the landlord misrepresented and the property is rented by someone else shortly thereafter, the previous tenant is entitled to compensation in the amount of the rent.
Question of the Week: The lease on my apartment will be ending soon. The contract states that there will be “automatic termination” at the end of the lease period. Does this mean my landlord can require me to move out, or sign a completely new agreement with different terms?
Under Dubai tenancy laws, a tenancy contract does not terminate automatically.
Instead, it renews automatically on the same terms until either party agrees to change the terms or terminate it. This is mandated by Dubai Law 26 of 2007, Article 6.
In the event the landlord wants to change any of the terms, he must notify the tenant 90 days in advance as per Law 33 of 2008, Articles 13-14. This includes the termination of the tenancy, or rent increase.
Notification alone, however, is only the first step. The tenant then has to agree. In the event that the tenant does not agree to the changes in the contract, the parties should take the issue to the Rent Committee.
Without either an agreement or a Rent Committee judgment, a landlord cannot unilaterally change the terms of the tenancy agreement. Neither can the landlord force the tenant to sign a new agreement.
Source: Sanket Khanna, Special to Freehold
CEO and Founder, SNS Properties