The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. With a large expatriate population and a thriving tourism industry, the country’s real estate sector has experienced tremendous growth in recent years. However, with this growth comes an increase in rental disputes. Whether you’re a tenant or a landlord, it’s essential to be aware of the various types of rental disputes that can arise in the UAE. In this article, we’ll cover the most common types of rental disputes and provide tips on how to resolve them.
Table of Contents
Types of Rental Disputes in the UAE
- Rent Increase Disputes
One of the most common types of rental disputes in the UAE is a rent increase dispute. Landlords may increase the rent when the lease agreement expires, but the increase should be in accordance with the rental laws in the UAE. However, some landlords may try to increase the rent by an excessive amount, which can lead to a dispute.
If a landlord wants to increase the rent, they must provide the tenant with a written notice at least 90 days before the end of the lease agreement. The notice should state the new rent amount and the reason for the increase. If the tenant disagrees with the rent increase, they can file a complaint with the Rental Dispute Settlement Centre (RDSC).
- Security Deposit Disputes
A security deposit is a sum of money that a tenant pays at the start of the lease agreement as a guarantee against damages to the property. When the lease agreement expires, the landlord must return the security deposit to the tenant within 14 days, provided there are no damages to the property.
However, if the landlord refuses to return the security deposit, or if there is a dispute over the amount to be returned, the tenant can file a complaint with the RDSC. The RDSC will then investigate the matter and make a ruling.
- Maintenance Disputes
Maintenance disputes can arise when the landlord fails to carry out repairs or maintenance work on the property. The landlord is responsible for maintaining the property and ensuring that it is in good condition. If the tenant reports a maintenance issue, the landlord must respond promptly and carry out the necessary repairs.
If the landlord fails to do so, the tenant can file a complaint with the RDSC. The RDSC can order the landlord to carry out the repairs and even deduct the cost from the rent if necessary.
- Eviction Disputes
An eviction dispute can arise when a landlord wants to evict a tenant before the end of the lease agreement. The landlord can only do this under certain circumstances, such as non-payment of rent, breach of the lease agreement, or if the landlord needs the property for personal use.
If a tenant believes they have been wrongfully evicted, they can file a complaint with the RDSC. The RDSC will investigate the matter and make a ruling. If the eviction was deemed wrongful, the tenant may be entitled to compensation.
- Lease Agreement Disputes
A lease agreement dispute can arise when there is a disagreement over the terms of the lease agreement. For example, if the tenant believes that the landlord is breaching the lease agreement, or if the landlord believes that the tenant is not complying with the terms of the lease agreement.
If the tenant or landlord believes there is a breach of the lease agreement, they can file a complaint with the RDSC. The RDSC will then investigate the matter and make a ruling.
How to Resolve Rental Disputes in the UAE
- Communicate with the other party
The first step in resolving a rental dispute is to communicate with the other party. It’s important to try and resolve the issue amicably before resorting to legal action. The tenant should contact the landlord and explain their concerns and try to come to a mutually agreeable solution.
- Seek legal advice
If communication fails to resolve the dispute, seeking legal advice can help clarify the legal position and options available. In the UAE, the RDSC is responsible for resolving rental disputes, and tenants or landlords can file a complaint with the RDSC. It is important to note that tenants or landlords cannot file a complaint directly to the courts until they have gone through the RDSC dispute resolution process.
- Review the lease agreement
The lease agreement sets out the terms and conditions of the tenancy, including the rent amount, security deposit, maintenance responsibilities, and eviction procedures. Reviewing the lease agreement can help to clarify the rights and obligations of both parties and can provide a basis for resolving the dispute.
- Document the dispute
Documenting the dispute can provide evidence of the issue and can help to support a legal claim. This can include taking photos of any damages to the property, recording any communication with the other party, and keeping copies of any written correspondence.
- Attend the RDSC hearing
If a complaint is filed with the RDSC, both parties will be required to attend a hearing. The RDSC will listen to both sides of the dispute and make a ruling based on the evidence presented. It is important to prepare for the hearing by reviewing the lease agreement and gathering any supporting documentation.
A brief of Rental laws in UAE
The rental laws in the UAE are governed by Federal Law No. 26 of 2007, which was amended by Law No. 33 of 2008. The law regulates the relationship between landlords and tenants, and provides guidelines for renting residential and commercial properties.
Some of the key provisions of the law include:
- Tenancy Contract: A tenancy contract is required for any rental agreement, and should be registered with the Ejari system. The contract should include details such as the rental amount, payment terms, and duration of the tenancy.
- Rent Increase: The landlord is permitted to increase the rent once every 12 months, but the increase cannot exceed 5% of the current rent. If the landlord wants to increase the rent by more than 5%, they need to obtain approval from the Rent Committee.
- Security Deposit: The landlord can request a security deposit from the tenant, which is typically equivalent to one or two months’ rent. The security deposit should be returned to the tenant at the end of the tenancy, subject to any deductions for damage or unpaid rent.
- Maintenance and Repairs: The landlord is responsible for ensuring that the property is in good condition and carries out any necessary repairs. The tenant is responsible for reporting any maintenance issues in a timely manner.
- Eviction: The landlord can only evict the tenant in certain circumstances, such as non-payment of rent or breach of contract. If the landlord wishes to terminate the tenancy, they must provide the tenant with a notice period of at least 90 days.
Landlord – Tenant Disputes in UAE
One of the most common disputes between landlords and tenants in the UAE is non-payment of rent. This can be a significant issue for landlords who rely on rental income to cover their expenses. On the other hand, tenants may struggle to pay rent due to financial difficulties. If a tenant fails to pay rent, the landlord has the right to terminate the lease and evict the tenant. However, this must be done through the proper legal channels, and tenants have the right to dispute any eviction notices they receive.
Another common dispute in the UAE is the condition of the property. Landlords are responsible for maintaining the property and ensuring that it is habitable. However, tenants may encounter problems with the property such as mold, pests, or faulty appliances. In such cases, tenants have the right to demand that the landlord make repairs. If the landlord fails to do so, tenants can file a complaint with the relevant authorities.
A third issue that can lead to disputes between landlords and tenants is the security deposit. When a tenant moves into a property, they are often required to pay a security deposit. This deposit is meant to cover any damages that the tenant may cause to the property. However, disputes can arise when the landlord withholds the deposit or charges the tenant for damages that were not caused by them. In such cases, tenants have the right to dispute the charges and seek legal recourse.
To resolve these disputes, both landlords and tenants can seek the help of the Rental Dispute Settlement Centre (RDSC) in the UAE. The RDSC is a government agency that helps to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants. They offer mediation services and can also issue binding decisions if the parties are unable to reach an agreement.
RDSC dispute resolution process in UAE
When you register your case and submit the required documents for a rental dispute in Dubai, it will be referred to the Arbitration Department for resolution within 15 days.
If an agreement is reached between the parties, a settlement will be documented, which will have the same power as a writ of execution.
If arbitration is unsuccessful, the next step is to file a lawsuit for your RERA complaint. The ruling on the lawsuit is expected to be received within 30 days.
Once a lawsuit is filed, RERA will allocate a date and time for the presentation of the rental dispute case. The length of the hearing may vary depending on the number of cases being dealt with on that day.
If the bench concludes that the rental dispute case in Dubai is not substantial or if there is insufficient evidence, a further hearing may be required. The losing party has the right to appeal.
This process can take several weeks or even months to resolve. Therefore, it is crucial for both landlords and tenants to carefully consider all the details and possibilities before filing a dispute case with RERA in Dubai.
Security Deposit Dispute Resolution in the UAE
As a tenant in the UAE, it is common practice to pay a security deposit to the landlord upon the signing of the lease agreement. The security deposit serves as a guarantee for the landlord that the property will be returned in the same condition as when it was leased, and any damages or outstanding bills will be paid by the tenant before the return of the deposit. However, disputes over the security deposit can arise between the tenant and landlord, and it is important to understand the process of resolving such disputes.
In the UAE, the laws regarding security deposit disputes vary between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. In Dubai, the Dubai Land Department (DLD) regulates the real estate market, and it is responsible for ensuring that all transactions related to the sale and leasing of properties are conducted in a fair and transparent manner. On the other hand, in Abu Dhabi, the Abu Dhabi Municipality is responsible for regulating the real estate market.
The first step to resolving a security deposit dispute is to communicate with the landlord or the real estate agent who managed the property. In most cases, disputes arise due to misunderstandings or miscommunication between the parties involved. The tenant should make an effort to reach out to the landlord and request a meeting to discuss the issue.
If the dispute cannot be resolved through negotiation, the tenant can file a complaint with the relevant regulatory authority. In Dubai, tenants can file a complaint with the DLD’s Rental Dispute Center (RDC), which is responsible for resolving disputes between landlords and tenants. The RDC has a dedicated section for security deposit disputes, and tenants can file a complaint online or in person at one of their offices.
In Abu Dhabi, tenants can file a complaint with the Abu Dhabi Municipality’s Rent Dispute Center (RDC), which is responsible for resolving disputes between landlords and tenants. The RDC has a dedicated section for security deposit disputes, and tenants can file a complaint online or in person at one of their offices.
Once a complaint is filed, the regulatory authority will review the case and schedule a hearing. During the hearing, both parties will be given an opportunity to present their case, and the regulatory authority will make a decision based on the evidence presented. The decision of the regulatory authority is final and binding on both parties.
In conclusion, disputes over security deposits can be resolved through effective communication between the tenant and landlord. If a dispute cannot be resolved through negotiation, tenants can file a complaint with the relevant regulatory authority. In the UAE, the laws regarding security deposit disputes vary between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and tenants should be aware of the procedures in their respective emirate. By understanding the process of resolving security deposit disputes, tenants can ensure that their rights are protected and they receive a fair outcome.