By now, most Landlords and Tenants in Dubai are aware of the 90 day notice that is required to be given by the Landlord in order to obtain a rental increase upon renewal of the Lease. But there are several aspects of the 90 day notice that are less well known.
In Dubai, a Landlord must give his Tenant notice of a rental increase at least 90 days prior to expiration of the Lease term. The notice should state the either the percentage of increase, or the actual amount of rent to be paid. The Rental Dispute Settlement Center (RDC) judges allow the rental increase notice to be delivered informally, by email, SMS or informal letter, as long as there is proof of receipt. If a Tenant does not respond to an email or SMS, or does not accept or acknowledge the letter when delivered to her, then the Landlord will have difficulty proving its receipt. Therefore, it is best to send the notice by either Registered Mail or by courier, to obtain the required proof.
Another 90 day notice that must be given is for proposed amendments to any of the Lease terms. For example, if Landlord accepted four rent cheques the previous year, and this year she wants the entire amount of rent paid in one cheque, she must give at least 90 day notice to the Tenant. If chiller was previously included in the rent amount, but going forward it will not be, 90 day notice is required. Same goes for the Tenant. If the Tenant wants to change any Lease terms, he would have to give at least 90 day notice to the Landlord. If the parties do not agree to the proposed changes, then a claim must be filed in RDC, and the Judge will decide on the outcome.
The law states that notice of a rental increase or any proposed amendments to the Lease terms must be given no less than 90 days prior to the expiry date, unless otherwise agreed by both parties. However, from recent case decisions, it appears that RDC judges have been enforcing a minimum of 90 days notice, regardless of what is written in the Lease.
A common misconception in the market is that the Tenant is required to give 90 day notice if he chooses not to renew the Lease. Under Article (14) of Law 26 of 2007, this was a requirement. However, Law 33 of 2008 did away with this requirement. Therefore, if a Landlord wants to be given 90 day notice of the Tenant’s intention not to renew, it should be included in the Lease terms.
Majdel S. Musa, JD
Head of Real Estate
Durkin & Co real Estate