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Landlord and tenant property rights are often, if not always, discussion points that require clarification, explanation and even patience. The responsibility to provide trustworthy advice and solutions and clear up any grey areas lies with the agent.
However, as a landlord or tenant you have to take up the task of knowing your rights and understanding government regulations, and incorporating whatever is necessary into your landlord-tenant relationship.
The following five regulations are areas we are frequently asked to provide further information on.
Serving a renewal notice
In order to amend conditions within the tenancy contract, the landlord or tenant must provide a 90-day notice. The most common example we can refer to is the landlord’s desire to increase the rent at the end of the agreed tenancy period. For this to be legally recognised, the tenant must be notified not less than 90 days prior to the expiry of the contract.
The notice does not have to be served through a notary public. It can be sent via email or a letter. It is advisable to serve any notice formally with evidence of time and date and better to have acknowledgment of receipt.
Finally, if the notice is served with the intention of increasing the rent, then it is important to ensure that any hike is aligned with the Real Estate Regulatory Agency’s (Rera) rental calculator.
Notifying an eviction
The landlord can request the tenant to move out upon expiry of the tenancy con- tract. However, any such action can take place only under these circumstances:
1. If the property is to undergo demolition that prevents the tenant from benefiting from it.
2. If the property requires renovation or extensive maintenance during which time the tenant is unable to occupy it.
3. If the landlord or a next of kin of the first degree wants to recover the property for personal use. In this instance, the owner would have to show proof of not having a suitable alternative.
4. If the landlord wishes to sell the leased property.
In the above scenarios the tenant must be notified by the landlord at least 12 months in advance, with properly substantiated reasons for the eviction.
Registering for Ejari
If you have entered into a tenancy contract, residential or commercial, it is mandatory to have it registered with Ejari — a government initiative that helps regulate the rental market. It guarantees and safeguards the rights of all parties in the event of a conflict.
What are the consequences of not registering? There are no penalties, however, the contract will not be accepted as a valid document should a dispute occur, thus the agreement will not be recognised by the courts.
Rera has not defined who is responsible for the registration. However, typically, the tenant incurs its cost and the landlord (or property management company) ensures it is registered.
You can register your lease agreement with Ejari at any stage of its tenure, therefore, be sure to check if your contract is registered. If not, you should do so as soon as possible.
Breaking the lease
There isn’t any specific law covering the early termination of a contract, so the landlord and the tenant have to agree on the inclusion of a specific provision in case of early termination.
The inclusion of a breaklease provision is typically accompanied by a penalty clause — the industry standard is to have a two-month rent penalty should a tenancy contract be terminated early. It is advisable, particularly for the tenant, to ensure a break lease provision is included in the contract to be certain and at peace.
Paying municipality fees
If it is not clear in the agreement who will pay the general municipality fees, it falls upon the landlord and tenant to negotiate the payment of various government fees. However, it is always better to define who will pay the various fees associated with the property and include this in your tenancy contract.
The housing fee is defined. This is collected with the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority bill and is the tenant’s responsibility.
These regulations are an important part of understanding your rights as a landlord or tenant. The most valuable advice we can give you is this: know your property rights and ensure that your contract ticks all the boxes.
• Dubai Land Department Dubailand.gov.ae
• Rental Increase Calculator Available on Dubailand.gov.ae
• Ejari website Ejari.ae
• Rent Disputes Settlement Centre 800 4488
• Customer service centre of the DLD 600 555 556
Source: Pradeep Thyagarajan
Portfolio Manager for Better Homes’ Property Management Division
Al Nisr Publishing accepts no liability for the views or opinions expressed in this column, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided