Dubai: Many tenants at residential and commercial properties in Dubai often find themselves in trouble due to automatic renewal of their tenancy contracts for having failed to notify the landlord 90 days prior to the date of expiry of their tenancy contracts.
In a recent incident, the owner of a shop vacated a rented unit after clearing his electricity and water bill. In spite of that, the landlord renewed the contract since the tenant didn’t notify him through official channels. According to senior legal adviser Wageh Amin Abdelaziz, from the World Center Advocates and Legal Consultants, issuing a notice to the landlord about evicting a rented unit is a must to avoid automatic renewal of the contract. “Many tenants in Dubai don’t know the procedure for handing over their rented apartments or shops back to the landlord upon expiry of the lease contract. According to rules, the tenant is supposed to notify the landlord 90 days before the expiry of the contract — either in written form or through an email,” Abdelaziz told Gulf News.
If the tenant hands over a written notice to the landlord, then he or she must take a receipt from the landlord that the latter has received the notice. “Tenants can go to the Notary Public to ascertain the legality of the notice.”
As per the orders of the Rental Dispute Centre in Dubai, if the tenant fails to notify the landlord or doesn’t hand over the keys of the rented unit to the landlord, then the tenancy contract can get automatically renewed even if the tenant has vacated the rented unit and closed the electricity and water bill account. Therefore, tenants should be careful and know the law to avoid the hassles. If the tenant doesn’t want to extend the tenancy contract then the tenant should notify the landlord 90-days before expiry of the contract, settle the water and electricity bill and hand over the key to the landlord or his representative,” Abdelaziz added. He advised tenants to check the tenancy contracts and check for any exit clauses.
Mohammad Hassan, a 40-year-old Arab resident who works in the private sector, told Gulf News that he had vacated an apartment two weeks before the expiry of the tenancy contract, paid all the bills and went to the landlord to hand over the keys, but the landlord refused to return his security deposit. “I was shocked when he refused to return the deposit in spite of the fact that I had vacated the apartment, cleared all utility bills and left the apartment. The landlord told me that I ought to have given him a notice that I would vacate the apartment,” said Hassan.
Dubai Rental Dispute Centre has urged tenants to read all lease contracts carefully, know the procedure to vacate the property and get all the necessary documentation work done to avoid troubles in the future.
What the law says
According to Article 14 of Law No 26 of 2007, regulating the relationship between landlords and tenants in Dubai: ‘Unless otherwise agreed upon by the parties, if either party to the tenancy contract wishes to amend any of its terms in accordance with Article 13 of this law, then that party must notify the other party of the same no less than 90 days prior to the date on which the contract expires.”
Abdelaziz said that upon the expiry of the term of the lease contract, the tenant must surrender possession of the real property to the landlord in the same condition in which the tenant had received it at the time of entering into the lease contract, except for ordinary wear and tear or for damage due to reasons beyond the tenant’s control. In the event of a dispute between the two parties, the matter must be referred to the Rental Disputes Committee to issue an order in this regard,” he added.