Find Out if Your Landlord is Allowed to Increase Your Rent

Tenants can challenge excessive rises in rent.

Wait! Before you pack your bags and go, that rent increase may not be legal. Dubai tenants can challenge excessive rises in rent. image credit

Are you worried about your rent?

There’s been an increasing level of hype in recent months that rental prices are increasing across Dubai.

Landlords of course would love this to be true and people are reporting that some have already implemented increases of 40%. Forcing people into downsizing while the villa stays empty waiting for someone to come along and pay over the odds.

Personally I think this hype is being created and maintained by “smoke and mirror” estate agents seeking a heady return to the pre-crash days of unsustainable rents and fat commissions.

Our villa came up for renewal and we’ve been wondering how our landlord would be playing it. The watchman just brought round the new contract… and… phew, no increase!

But as I’ve already done the research I can share it with you and point out that although it can feel like the landlord holds all the cards, in reality tenants do have rights in Dubai and there are procedures in place to allow Dubai’s tenants to challenge excessive rises in rent.

If you are renting in Dubai, keep yourself informed.

Tenants: Know your rights

  • Notice to Vacate: Unless you’re using your villa as a shop etc or are engaged in criminal activity, a landlord has to give one year’s notice if he wants to terminate your Renewable Contract (for example if he wants to sell the property).

All contracts are Renewable unless they are specifically marked as “Non Renewable”.

This one year notice cannot be given to you at any time of the year. It must be given to you at the beginning of your contract.

In real terms what this means is that when you move into your new house on a Renewable contract, if the landlord does not tell you that he wants you out at the end of that year, then you are entitled to be there for 2 years subject to any legal rent increases (RERA approved).

One year as per your contract and another year after he gives you notice.

Ad nauseum until he gives you that 12 month notice.

Your contract will have a notice period written in – this notice period applies to you – it’s the notice you have to give when YOU want to vacate. It is usually 90 days.

When your Renewable Contract comes up for renewal, your landlord is entitled to issue you a NonRenewable Agreement for the new term. This is effectively a one year notice.

  • Notice of Rate Increase: A landlord has to tell you in writing about any rate increase at least 90 days before your lease ends.
  • Rental Rate Guidelines: Landlords in Dubai are legally constrained by the RERA Rent calculator. This calculator works out average rental prices in your area for your size of property and tells you if your rent can be increased or not, and if so then by what percentage. You input your current details (contract expiry date, type of accommodation. location) into the calculator and you get your answer immediately.

In real terms this means that your landlord must tell you 90 days before your lease expires that he is increasing the rent BUT the rent increase must be in line with the RERA Rental Index.

If you can’t reach an agreement with your landlord, provided your rental agreement has been filed with RERA then you can raise a case with the Dubai Municipality Rent Committee.

This does incur a fee of 3.5% of the value of your rent up to a maximum of AED20,000. You may however be able to obtain some free legal advice under a new pro-bono initiative “Sure” launched by the Dubai Courts.

How has your rent been affected this year?

UPDATE: Since I wrote this article, the UAE won EXPO 2020 and the rents went mad overnight. Read about it here.

4 Responses to “Find Out if Your Landlord is Allowed to Increase Your Rent”

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  1. Sanjeev says:

    Thank you for this very useful web site. As per calculator I discover my rent must not assume increase and I now inform my landlord the same.

  2. Yousuf A.A. says:

    The rent Calculator applies only for the Tenancy Agreements conducted before January 2011, date of the enforcement of the Law, all Agreements conducted after such date need only 90 days notice for the rent increse.(please read the text of Decree No. 2 for 2011.).

  3. Dana says:

    After renting happily for 4 years, our rent will be jumping up by 20%!! We are very upset.

    • Happywitchie says:

      I feel your pain. Ours is trying to do 20% too. There’s a house opposite us that’s been standing empty for over a year now but the landlord is still holding out for 210k.

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