KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: can landlord change the terms of your contract?

Contract Renewal

As part of our series on tenancy rights and rental regulations in Dubai, we provide you with a weekly advice on how to deal with various situations which you might face with your landlord, neighbors, and the Dubai Land Department.

This week we answer the question on whether a landlord has the right to change the terms of your tenancy contract upon renewal.

What does the law say? 

The law explicitly specifies a 90 day notice period which needs to be submitted to the landlord by the tenant and vice versa if either of the parties wish to make changes to the tenancy contract, cancel the contract or change the rent amount (unless stated otherwise in the contract) .

  • Article (13) of Law (33) states that both landlord and tenant upon expiry of the tenancy contract may amend any of the contract’s terms or review the rent whether by increase or decrease. If the parties do not reach an agreement regarding this, the Committee may decide fair rent considering the standards referred to in Article No. (9) of this Law.
  • Article (14) of Law (33) states that if either party of tenancy contract wishes to amend any of its conditions pursuant to Article (13) of this Law, then he must notify the same to the other party not less than 90 days prior to expiry date, unless both parties agreed otherwise.

What should you do?

In case your landlord has not given you a written notice of the changes he wishes to make at least 90 days before the expiry date, you are not obliged to take the changes into consideration.

If he has given you a written notice 90 days prior to the expiry date, you could:

  • Revise the changes and agree to them if they suit you.
  • Negotiate the terms of the contract to reach a mutual agreement with the landlord.
  • Refuse to accept the changes because he has not giving you a sufficient notice period.

If the landlord refuses to renew the contract unless you agree to sign the amended terms, you can file a complaint at the Rent Disputes Settlement Centre at Dubai Land Department. Remember, the law is on your side in this case. However, it is advisable to try and settle the disagreement by communicating with the landlord, as the dispute case might take a while.

For more information on tenancy rights and useful advice, visit our Guides section.

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