Renting in Dubai: Was your house demolished? You have the right to return after reconstruction
These are a tenant’s rights in case of demolition or significant renovation in Dubai
Dubai: Houses can hold a strong emotional value, even if you are a tenant. If you have lived in a house for years and it is up for a significant renovation or complete demolition, did you know you have the right to return to it, according to Dubai’s rental laws?
Article 29 of Dubai’s rental law – Law No. (33) of 2008 – which regulates the relationship between landlords and tenants in Dubai provides details on ‘the right of first refusal’ that a tenant has in such situations. But what does the right of first refusal mean? And what are your rights as a tenant if you are being asked to leave your residential unit due to renovation or demolition? Here is all you need to know
Notice period for demolition
Firstly, if you have been told by your landlord that your property is going to be demolished, the landlord must provide an eviction notice along with the reason for demolition 12 months prior to the eviction date, as per Article 25 of Dubai’s Rental Law.
“This notice must be sent to the tenant through a Notary Public or registered post. The landlord cannot evict the tenant at the end of their tenancy contract if the 12 months’ notice has not been complied with,” Abdulrahman Junaid, a partner at Dubai-based law firm ADG Legal, said.
Also, if the landlord plans on demolishing a property, they must acquire the necessary approval from relevant authorities in Dubai.
“The landlord must demonstrate that it has received all the licenses and approvals from the competent authorities in Dubai to proceed with the demolition. It is at the Rental Disputes Centre’s (RDC) discretion to issue the judgment based on the evidence provided,” Junaid explained.
What is the notice period for a property being renovated or restored?
According to Ashraf El Motei, the founder of UAE based law firm Motei and Associates, the landlord must notify the tenant of his intention of not renewing the lease for restoring or rebuilding the property 90 days prior to the expiration of the tenancy contract.
Can I return to the property?
Whether your residential unit is being renovated or demolished, you have the right to return to it after it is restored or reconstructed. This right is referred to as the ‘right of first refusal’.
2. The tenant must exercise the right of first refusal referred to in the preceding paragraph within a period not exceeding 30 days from the date the tenant is notified by the landlord.
The ‘right of first refusal’ also known in Arabic as ‘hak al shoofaa’ is a contractual condition or clause, which gives a party the right to make an offer to buy, acquire, or transact on something prior to any other persons,” Motei explained.
“If declined, the other party is free to accept offers from other people. This clause is commonly used in tenancy contracts. The aim is to give a tenant the right to make an offer to buy the rental property he lived in before the landlord can accept offers from other potential buyers,” he added.
However, this right needs to be exercised within 30 days of the tenant being notified of it by the landlord. Once the time of 30 days has passed, the landlord is entitled to offer the property to other potential tenants.
“In the event of a disagreement over the new rental amount, the matter shall be determined by the rental committee in Dubai,” Motei added.