Everything you need to know about RERA rental property laws

When it comes to renting property in Dubai, The Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA) has set definitive laws to regulate the relationship between the landlord and the tenant, and outline each party’s roles and responsibilities, in order to minimize often occurring disputes and misunderstandings.

propertyfinder.ae sums up Law No. 33 of 2008 to help readers betters understand everything they need to take into consideration when renting a property in Dubai.

Term of tenancy contract

  • Article 4 states that all tenancy contracts or any amendments to such tenancy contracts have to be registered with RERA.
  • Article 6 states that when the contract expires, and the tenant continues to occupy the property without any objection by the landlord, the contract will be renewed for the same term or for a term of one year, whichever is shorter, and under the same terms. 
  • Article 27 clarifies that the tenancy contract does not expire upon the death of the landlord or the tenant. The contractual relationship continues with the heirs, unless the heirs of the tenant wish to terminate such relationship, provided that termination comes into effect no less than thirty days from the date of notifying the landlord.
  • Article 28 states that transferring the ownership of the property to a new owner does not affect the tenant’s right to continue to occupy the property.
  • Article 14 provides a 90 days notice period prior to the expiry of the contract for both parties to amend any of the terms.

Rental increase

  • If the landlord plans on increasing the annual rent, he must do so according to Rera calculator and give the tenant 90 days notice period before renewing the contract. 
  • The tenant can accept the increase or refuse it, under the condition of giving the landlord 60 days notice before the renewal date to vacate the property. 

Landlord’s obligations

  • The landlord is obliged to hand over the property in good condition, which allows the tenant full use as stated in the contract. 
  • According to Article 16, unless otherwise agreed by the parties, the landlord will, during the term of the contract, be responsible for the property’s maintenance works and for repairing any defect or damage.
  • Article 17 states that the landlord may not make any changes to the property that would affect the tenant’s full use of the it as intended.  
  • The landlord will be responsible for any defect, damage, deficiency, and wear and tear occurring to the property for reasons not attributable to the fault of the tenant.

Tenant’s obligations

  • Article 19 states that the tenant may not make any changes or carry out any restoration or maintenance works to the property unless so permitted by the landlord and after obtaining required licences from the competent official entities.
  • Article 21 Upon the expiry of the term of the Tenancy Contract, the Tenant must surrender possession of the Real Property to the Landlord in the same condition in which the Tenant received it at the time of entering into the Tenancy Contract except for ordinary wear and tear or for damage due to reasons beyond the Tenant’s control. In the event of dispute between the two parties, the matter must be referred to the Tribunal to issue an award in this regard.
  • Article 22 states that unless the tenancy contract states otherwise, the tenant must pay all fees and taxes due to government entities and departments for use of the property as well as any fees or taxes prescribed for any sub-lease.
  • Article 23 states that unless otherwise agreed by the parties, upon vacating and surrendering possession of the property, the tenant may not remove any leasehold improvements made by him. 

Eviction cases

Under Article 25, the landlord has the right to evict the tenant in the following cases:

Before the expiry of the Tenancy Contract:

  1. Tenant fails to pay the Rent or any part thereof within thirty (30) days after the date a Notice to pay is given to the Tenant by the Landlord unless otherwise agreed by the parties.
  2. Tenant sub-lets the property or any part thereof without obtaining the landlord’s approval in writing. In this case, the eviction will apply to both the tenant and sub-tenant. 
  3. Tenant uses the property or allows others to use it for any illegal purpose or for a purpose which breaches public order or morals.
  4. Tenant of commercial property leaves the property unoccupied for no valid reason for thirty consecutive days or ninety  non-consecutive days within the same year, unless agreed otherwise by both parties.
  5. Tenant makes a change to the property that renders it unsafe in a manner that makes it impossible to restore the Real Property to its original state, or damages the property wilfully or through gross negligence, by failing to exercise due diligence, or by allowing others to cause such damage.
  6. Tenant uses the property for a purpose other than that for which it was leased, or uses it in a manner that violates planning, construction, and use-of-land regulations in force in the Emirate.
  7. Property is condemned, provided that the landlord must prove this by a technical report issued by or attested to by Dubai Municipality.
  8. Tenant fails to observe any obligation imposed on him by this Law or any of the terms of the tenancy contract within thirty days from the date a notice to perform such obligation or term is served upon him by the landlord.
  9. When competent government entities requires demolition or reconstruction of the property as per urban development requirements in the Emirate.

*The landlord will give notice to the tenant through a Notary Public or registered post.

Upon expiry of the tenancy contract:

  1. The owner of the property wishes to demolish it to reconstruct it, or to add any new constructions that will prevent the tenant from using it, provided that the required permits are obtained from the competent entities.
  2. The property is in a condition that requires restoration or comprehensive maintenance that cannot be carried out in the presence of the tenant, provided that the condition of thep roperty is verified by a technical report issued by or attested to by Dubai Municipality.
  3. Owner of the property wishes to take possession of it for his personal use or for use by any of his first-degree relatives, provided that the owner proves that he does not own another property appropriate for such purpose;
  4. where the owner of the property wishes to sell the leased Real Property.

Note: according to Article 26, if the landlord states that he wants the tenant to vacate the property after the expiration of the contract, and claims he needs it for personal use, he may not rent the property to a third party before the lapse of at least two years from the date when the tenant vacates it. 

*The landlord must notify the tenant of the eviction reasons twelve months prior to the date set for eviction, provided that this notice is given through a Notary Public or registered post.

Dispute resolutions

Where a dispute arises and the landlord and tenant are unable to reach an agreement, either party has the right to file a complaint case at the Rent Disputes Settlement Centre at Dubai Land Department.

According to Article 34 the landlord may not disconnect services from the property or disturb the tenant in his use of the property in any manner. If this happens, the tenant may have recourse to the police station under whose jurisdiction the property falls to seek a remedy for the violation or to file a police report regarding the violation.

Rera call centre: 6005 55556

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Related links:

Can landlord change the terms of your contract?

Checklist before signing a tenancy contract

What happens if you want to terminate your contract early?

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