Do tenants in the UAE need to move out immediately if their home is sold?
Relations between tenants and landlords in Dubai are regulated by law and are always clearly defined by tenancy agreement, but in reality tenants may face different situations, and not all of them know their rights and what they should do, if they are suddenly asked to vacate their premises. Such a request was made by the landlord to one of the IMEX Real Estate clients, although the lease term expires only in the fall. Therefore, a concerned tenant asked our consultants for advice, describing their situation. Perhaps, the answer to his question will help someone else to assert their rights (this also applies to landlords). So, Jason K. writes:
“We basically have a nice landlord, but he urgently needs to sell his villa, which we rent with our family. He had already found a buyer and asked if we could move out by the end of June, because the new buyer wants to move in as soon as he has ownership. Our rental agreement ends only in October. Should we immediately move out at his request? Or can we stay until the end of our contract? And after, when the contract expires, can we extend it?
We really like the house, and we even invested our money in landscaping the garden. Now, it seems, we will have to move earlier than we planned, and, besides, pay for the painting of the villa and incur such unexpected expenses for moving and fees. What do you advise us to do?
Jason K., Dubai”
The first thing to remember for all tenants in Dubai: neither the landlord, nor the new owner in the event of resale of the occupied property can evict you without your consent.
In fact, the new owner will only be able to move into his new property after he sends you a written notice 12 months before your eviction. The new owner must fully comply with the current lease agreement, which cannot be changed until its extension. And only after this period, and only if you received a notice of eviction within 90 days, the landlord will be able to evict you after only after the specified 90 days period. And even then, all these changes, if any, should also be agreed between both parties to the contract.
Law No. 26 of 2007 governs the relationship between landlords and tenants in Dubai. This Law was amended by a later Law No. 33 of 2008, which states that a landlord can evict a tenant only if he plans to use the property for his own residence, or for the residence of his first degree relatives, and only after a written notice of eviction has been sent to the tenant through a notary public or by registered letter 12 months prior to the alleged eviction,
There are 3 other cases when a landlord can evict a tenant, but always after notifying him in writing of an eviction within 12 months:
If the landlord wants to sell his property.
If the property requires serious repairs, which will prevent the tenant from living there during the works are carried out.
If the property requires demolition.
In the last two cases, written permit of the competent authorities is also required.
From your letter, we assume that you have not yet received a written notice of eviction. And if this notice is sent after your lease contract expires, then, in fact, you can stay in this villa almost for another whole term of the contract. However, some landlords do not want to wait 12 months after the expiration of the current contract and go to court. In some cases, judges on the Rental Dispute Settlement Committee take the side of the landlord. It all depends on their interpretation of the law in each case.
To make it clear, if the new owner of your villa hands you a notice of eviction when they officially take ownership, say, in a few weeks, you will need to vacate the villa 12 months from that date. However, if they send you a notice only after the expiration of your current lease contract, then, in fac,t you can stay until the end of October 2021.
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