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More than half of the people in Dubai rent their homes instead of own them, making landlord-tenant disputes almost inevitable especially with regard to rental increases – a primary cause of conflict leading to eviction although not, in itself, considered a legal ground. Some landlords evict tenants on the pretext of taking possession of the unit for the self or next of kin, or selling the property. But this may not be so easy to do now with the new residential leasing laws and tenants' growing awareness of their rights.
The law says that if landlords need to evict tenants, they must either send a public notary or send the notice via registered post as it would require the tenant's signature at the time of delivery, thereby forfeiting any claims of non-receipt. Nevertheless, a notarized document is better, which may be obtained by getting the notary typed by any public notary, or at the Dubai courts. While availing of the notary, the landlord needs to produce documents comprising the tenancy contract, Ejari documentation and passport copies of both the landlord and the tenant.
The document will contain the address of the rented property and the reason for not extending the lease beyond the stipulated period. But, of course, the landlord needs to show proof he gave a 12-month notice period, and that there is a clause stating that the tenant will be liable for compensation for losses/damages if any delay occurs in vacating the property once the notice period expires. Any email eviction notices are considered invalid.
In fact, an increasing number of landlords are abiding by the above law, though some do lease out their property once again at a higher rent after the evicted tenant has vacated the property, instead of occupying it himself or selling it.
Disputes with one's landlord may be coursed through the Rental Disputes Settlement Centre, Dubai Land Department (DLD). File the plaint of case and pay 3.5% of your annual rent as court fees. Keep a translator and the aforementioned documents as well as supporting documents like records of landlord-tenant conversations regarding the matter (if any), on hand.
• Majority of Dubai residents occupy rented homes rather than own a unit
• Unscrupulous landlords resort to eviction as a means to hike up rental rates
• The law is very clear on the grounds for eviction and protects tenants' rights
Source: Arva Shikari, Special to Properties
The writer is a freelancer