Disputes between landlords and tenants are a worldwide phenomenon. The quick and adequate resolution of such disputes promotes a healthy rental market for both landlords and tenants. Rental disputes in Dubai are filed at and dealt by the rent dispute settlement forums in the emirate. If 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 IN DUBAI?
Despite the Dubai Land Department putting several systems in place to facilitate tenants, landlords, buyers and sellers, in some situations disputes do arise in the form of disagreements violation of contractual rights.
In the first instance, it is better to think of finding a mutually beneficial solution for all parties involved. However, you sometimes find yourself in a situation where all modes of communication and reasoning between the landlord and tenant have been exhausted. This is when you need to file a rental dispute case in Dubai at the DLD’s Rent Disputes Resolution Centre.
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 part of the tenant
- Unfair increase in rent on part of the landlord
- Tenant resistance on vacating the property in due time
- Landlords severing essential services to force tenant eviction
The Rent Disputes Resolution Centre 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 Rent Dispute Resolution Centre (RDC). Let’s see 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 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 increase in rent, the law dictates all landlords to 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.
Whether you’re a landlord or a tenant, knowing the RERA law is the first step towards proper dispute resolution. You cannot go and file a rent dispute in Dubai on the basis of assumptions. In instances where you do not have 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 law that backs your RERA complaint, 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 where you are still unable to find a mutually acceptable resolution, a RERA rent complaint can be filed at the rental dispute committee in Dubai. However, one should keep in mind that filing a rental dispute case in Dubai can be a long, tedious process. It is therefore, advisable to approach this as the last resort to dispute resolution.
STEP 3: Gather the Documents You Need to File a RERA Complaint
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 Center in Deira. The translation service is also provided by the typists at the RDC.
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 in Deira.
You can present the document to the assigned RDC typist who will fill out your RERA complaint. The typist will inquire about the your rental dispute and guide you on how to formalise the complaint and file your case.
Alternatively, you can also file register your complaint online in Dubai via the Rent Disputes Resolution 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 that will try to resolve the dispute within 15 days.
If arbitration is unsuccessful, then you need to 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 specified 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.
In case 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.
This process can take weeks or even months to be resolved. This is why it is important for both tenants and landlords to analyse all the possibilities and details before filing a dispute case with RERA in Dubai.
THE COST OF FILING A RENTAL DISPUTE IN DUBAI
Other than the time and effort involved, there is a monetary cost attached to filing a rental dispute in Dubai. The cost to lodge a RERA complaint can be broken down into:
- Dispute filing charges: 3.5% of annual rent of the said property (at least AED 500 and not more than AED 20,000)
- Typing centre charges: AED 210 (may vary)
- Administration costs: AED 110 (may vary)
Let’s say you want to lodge a rental dispute where the annual rent amounts to AED 50,000, your cost of filing the dispute will be calculated as follows.
- 3.5% of 50,000 = 1,750
- Typing centre charges = 210
- Administration costs = 110
- Total: 2,070 AED
Besides this, you may also want to factor in the parking charges, which you may have to pay at the RDC. A day’s proceeding usually takes a couple of hours, sometimes even more.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
When it comes to dealing with rental disputes in Dubai, people often ask these questions.
WHEN SHOULD I FILE A RERA COMPLAINT FOR UNFAIR INCREASE IN RENT?
You can file a rental dispute case in Dubai against 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
- They 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 the 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 less than 10% of a similar property in the same area.
- 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%.
WHEN I CAN APPEAL IN A RENTAL DISPUTE?
If any of the parties to the rental dispute are dissatisfied with the ruling issued in lieu of their case, they can file an appeal against the decision. However, an appeal can only be made if the value of annual rent the tenancy contract is specified to be more than AED 100,000.
HOW TO TRACK CASE RENTAL DISPUTE CENTER?
You can track the proceedings of your rental dispute case in Dubai via the official RDC “Track a suit” portal.
CAN YOU GO TO JAIL FOR NOT PAYING RENT IN DUBAI?
Law No. 26 of 2007, Article 12 states: “Tenant shall pay rent value on agreed dates. However, if such agreement is absent or cannot be proved, then rent value must be paid in annual four equal instalments to be paid in advance.”
Under the Dubai Tenancy Law, paying rent on time is the first and foremost responsibility of the tenant. If for some reason, they fail to do so, the landlord has the right to:
- Demand eviction
- File a rent dispute
- Initiate criminal proceedings (in case of bounced cheques)
While the first two means of resolution may only subject you to a fine (depending on the rent), you may face detention or a fine in the event of a criminal proceeding under Article 401 of Federal Law No. 3 of 1987 on the issuance of Penal Code.
That concludes this guide on rental disputes in Dubai. For any more information or clarification on the steps mentioned here, visit the Dubai rental dispute centre website or contact the RDC rental disputes centre on 800-4488.
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