Disputes between landlords and tenants are a worldwide phenomenon. Quick and adequate resolution of such disputes promotes a healthy rental market. Rental disputes with RERA in Dubai are filed at and dealt with by the rent dispute settlement forums. If you have a tenancy dispute that has gone beyond ordinary means of resolution, here is a guide on how to file rental disputes in Dubai.
WHEN TO FILE FOR RENTAL DISPUTES WITH RERA IN DUBAI?
Despite the Dubai Land Department putting several systems in place to facilitate tenants, landlords, buyers and sellers, disputes do arise in some situations, in the form of disagreements and violations of contractual rights.
In the first instance, it is better to think of finding a mutually beneficial solution for all parties involved. However, you might find yourself in a situation where all modes of communication and reasoning with the other party have been exhausted. This is when you need to file a rental dispute with RERA.
This forum specialises in the smooth resolution of disputes arising between tenants and landlords in Dubai for various reasons that include, but aren’t limited to:
- Failure to pay rent on the part of the tenant
- Unfair increase in rent on the part of the landlord
- Tenant resistance to vacating the property in due time
- Landlords severing essential services to force tenant eviction
- Disagreement over security deposit refund
The Rent Disputes Resolution Centre under the supervision of the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA) has jurisdiction over all rental disputes in Dubai, except:
- Financial lease contracts
- Rent dispute cases arising in Dubai-free zones like DMCC, JAFZA and Tecom.
HOW TO LODGE A RENTAL DISPUTE IN DUBAI
Both tenants and landlords can file a rental dispute case at the Rental Dispute Resolution Centre (RDC). Let’s find out how tenants can lodge a complaint against the landlord in Dubai.
Be mindful of the fact that the same steps are applicable in case a landlord needs external help to settle the dispute(s) with their tenants.
STEP 1: FAMILIARISE YOURSELF WITH THE RENTAL LAW IN DUBAI
It is important to familiarise yourself with the Dubai Tenancy Law before thinking of filing a rental dispute case in Dubai. The Dubai government has introduced strict laws to govern rental agreements in the city.
For example, when it comes to an increase in rent, the law dictates all landlords give a 90-day notice of their intention to increase the rent to their tenant(s). The increase must be according to RERA’s rent index and the notice must be sent through a registered mailing service or electronically.
Whether you’re a landlord or a tenant, knowing the RERA law is the first step towards proper dispute resolution. You cannot simply file a rental dispute in Dubai at the rental dispute centre on the basis of assumptions. In instances where you do not have a proper understanding of the law, it’s best to seek legal counsel.
STEP 2: INFORM THE OTHER PARTY AND TRY TO NEGOTIATE A SOLUTION
Once you have an understanding of the laws that back your RERA complaint(s), it’s best to inform the other party of your legal standing. For example, if you’ve determined that you’ve been charged an unfair rental increase, you should inform your landlord about the issue. Make sure you document all your correspondence with the other party.
In the event that you are still unable to find a mutually acceptable resolution, filing a rental dispute complaint in Dubai is your next option. A RERA rent complaint can be filed at the rental dispute committee in Dubai. The procedure for filing a rental dispute complaint in Dubai is relatively straightforward. However, one should keep in mind that filing a rental dispute case in Dubai is not particularly a rapid process.
It is, therefore, advisable to approach the Rental Dispute Centre Dubai as the last resort to resolution.
STEP 3: GATHER THE DOCUMENTS YOU NEED TO FILE RERA COMPLAINTS
You need the following documents to register a rental dispute at the RDC in Dubai.
- Ejari tenancy contract and certificate
- Latest DEWA bill
- Title deed and passport of the landlord (original and copy)
- Tenant’s passport and visa copy
- Emirates ID (original and copy)
- Rental deposit slips
- Copies of cheques made to the landlord
- Proof of correspondence between the parties
- Any other supporting documents regarding the dispute
Some of these documents need to be translated to Arabic so make sure to have that done before you visit the Rental Disputes Centre (RDC) in Deira. The translation service is also provided by the typists at the Rental Disputes Centre.
STEP 4: REGISTER A CASE ONLINE OR VISIT THE RENT DISPUTES RESOLUTION CENTRE (RDC)
Decree No. 26 of 2013 established the Rental Dispute Resolution Centre (RDC), which caters to and solves all sorts of rental disputes in Dubai. Once you have all the documents required for filing a rental dispute case, visit the RDC Head Office located at 10 3rd Street, Riggat Al Buteen, Deira.
You can present the document to the assigned RDC typist who will fill out your RERA complaint. The typist will inquire about your rental dispute and guide you on how to formalise the complaint and file your case.
Alternatively, you can also file a rental dispute with RERA via the Rent Disputes Resolution portal. The procedure for filing a rental dispute complaint in Dubai is pretty much self-explanatory via the portal.
STEP 5: THE CASE PROCEEDINGS
When you submit the necessary documents and register your case, the rental dispute in Dubai will first be transferred to the Arbitration Department which will try to resolve the dispute within 15 days.
If the two parties agree, a settlement is documented, which has the force of a writ of execution.
If arbitration is unsuccessful, you must file a lawsuit for your RERA complaint. The timeline to receive a ruling on the lawsuit is 30 days.
If a lawsuit is filed, RERA will allot you a date and time to present the rental dispute case. The hearing may take a few hours, depending on the number of cases being dealt during the day.
If the bench concludes that your rental dispute case in Dubai is not substantial or you do not have sufficient evidence, you may have to appear for another hearing. The losing party does hold the right to appeal within 15 days in case of disputes which are greater than AED 50k.
Whereas to take it to the Court of Cassation, the case’s value has to be at least AED 330k. The appeal can be filed within 30 days of the final judgment.
This process can take weeks or even months to resolve. This is why both tenants and landlords need to analyse all the possibilities and details before filing a dispute case with RERA in Dubai.
FAQS ABOUT RENTAL DISPUTES IN DUBAI
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO LODGE A DISPUTE?
You will have to consider the following charges before complaining.
- 3.5% of the annual rent (Not less than AED 500 and not more than AED 20,000)
- AED 25 for the power of attorney registration
- AED 100 fee for advertisement
- AED 10 knowledge fees
- AED 10 innovation fees
WHEN SHOULD I FILE A RENTAL DISPUTE WITH RERA FOR AN UNFAIR RENT INCREASE?
You can file a rental dispute case in Dubai at the RDC against the unfair increase in rent where:
- The landlord has NOT served a 90-day notice of the increase
- The notice was served but not via a registered mailing service
- The increase was not in line with RERA’s rent index as defined in Decree No. 43 of 2013
The Dubai Land Department (DLD) has provided all residents with an effective and free-to-use RERA rent calculator that can be consulted in the eventuality of a rent increase.
Use the calculator to get an idea of how your property fares in comparison to the other similar units in the area. In case the increase in rent surpasses the limit outlined by the rent calculator, rental disputes in Dubai can be filed with RERA.
HOW MUCH CAN A LANDLORD INCREASE RENT IN DUBAI?
Decree No. 43 of 2013 explicitly states the maximum percentages by which a landlord can increase the rent. During the renewal of tenancy contracts here are the maximum rent increases in Dubai that a landlord can charge.
- Rent in Dubai can only be increased if the rent of a property unit is more than 10% below the market value.
- If the rent is 11 to 20% less than the average rent of similar properties, the maximum rent increase will be equal to 5% of the rent value.
- In case the rental value of a unit is 21 to 30% less than the average rent for similar units, the maximum rent increase allowed is 10% of the rental value.
- If the rent of a residential unit is 31 to 40% less, the maximum rent increase allowed is equal to 15% of the rental value.
- For residential units having rents less than 40% or more than the average rent of a similar unit, the maximum rent increase applicable is 20%.
HOW TO TRACK CASE RENTAL DISPUTE CENTRE?
You can track the proceedings of your rental dispute case in Dubai via the official RDC Dubai “Track your case” portal.
CAN MY LANDLORD RE-LET MT APARTMENT/VILLA AFTER EVICTING ME?
This depends on the reason given at the time of eviction.
- If the reason given for eviction is selling the property, moving in himself/herself or next of kin of first degree, the landlord cannot rent it again for at least two years.
- A landlord cannot evict a tenant to then re-let the property to someone else for a higher rent. If they do this, a penalty will be imposed (Unless the previous tenant signs an NOC).
That concludes this guide on rental disputes in Dubai. Now, you have the answer to the question of how to file rental disputes in Dubai with RERA.
For any more information or clarification on the steps mentioned here, visit the Dubai Rental Dispute Centre website. If you have a serious grievance, it might be best to work with a rental dispute lawyer in Dubai.
Before you rent an apartment, townhouse or villa in Dubai, know that all tenancy contracts have to be registered with Ejari in Dubai.
Those concerned about the rental tenure can weigh the benefits of short-term vs long-term rentals in Dubai to get a clear picture of what suits them better.