Renting a House in the UAE: Tenants Should Beware of These Issues

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on July 14, 2023, 17:41:00


real estate, renting house, UAE

Legal issues associated with renting an apartment might be one of the very first questions that any expat might face in the UAE. It is pertinent to be mindful of the common legal mistakes that may lead to unexpected legal repercussions or exploitation. Here, we explore a few of the important issues associated with the Rent and Lease Contracts in the UAE.

Registration of Rental Agreements and Applicable Law

The rental agreements are governed by the respective laws of each Emirate. However, it has to be noted that the registration of the rental agreement is mandatory if you are to secure your rights. Hence, make sure you register the rental agreement. This has to be registered in the respective portal of the respective emirate; these portals include the Tawtheeq system in Abu Dhabi, RERA's Ejari in Dubai and Sharjah Municipality in Sharjah.

The rental agreements are governed by the respective real estate laws relating to the same in each Emirate. For instance, in Dubai they are governed by the Federal Decree-Law No. 26 of 2007- Regulating the Relationship between Landlords and Tenants in the Emirate of Dubai, where the Rental Agreement for less than a year falls under short-term rental and is regulated by the Department of Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing. Also, while renting a property in Dubai, it is pertinent to note that rent capping was introduced in the year 2008 and rent increases have to fall within the limits prescribed. Rent value increase or amendments to any of tenancy contract conditions can only happen after two years elapse, and all the rents must be linked to the RERA Rent Index.

Terms of the Tenancy Agreement

Please make sure your rental agreement contains the signature of the landlord, description & address of the property, purpose of the lease, period of tenancy, rent value and mode of payment. Title deed is the document that verifies the ownership of a property and it is advised that even when you receive a title deed document, you need to verify the genuineness of the same. In Dubai, for example, you can do the same by installing Dubai Rest from your mobile app store or go to www.dubailand.gov.ae, and the application verifies the title deed on entry of relevant data. Here, it may be noted that the Rental Agreements or Contracts are usually entered for one year. While signing the rent agreement, the tenant has to have a copy of their passport and a copy of their UAE residency visa. Furthermore, a tenant needs to make sure that the landlord can present the following documents to be sure your landlord has the title, to avoid unexpected legal issues: a copy of the title deed or proof of ownership, a copy of the landlord's passport, a copy of the Estate Agent's Broker ID card, and a receipt on company letterhead for any monies paid

Terminating the Rental Agreement

The most common mistake done by the tenants who rented property in UAE is the non-termination of their Rental Agreement entered between them and the landlord, before vacating the property. Termination of tenancy contract before the end of the tenancy period can be done with sufficient notice as per the tenancy agreement. However, the tenant would be required to pay the remaining rent. Here, it has to be noted that as per Dubai's law applicable to tenancy given above, the tenancy renews automatically unless an objection is raised by the landlord. However, automatic renewal is subject to certain exceptions such as property demolition, sale of property etc.

One is always advised to cancel the Rent and Lease Contract registered through Ejari, and in accordance with the exit clause in the respective Rental Agreement. Unfortunately, unless an exit clause is not included in the Rental Agreement, the landlord is not obligated by law to let you off easily. However, it has to be noted that the tenant can be evicted by the landlord for reasons including using premises for illegal and immoral purposes, subletting without consent and non-payment of rent for 30 days since notification.