As an update to our previous article in October 2013 regarding introduction of the new Rental Dispute Settlement Centre (“RDC”) in Dubai, this article focuses on the key clarifications issued by the RDC in a recent judgment.
The RDC was established by Decree No. 26 of 2013 and has been operational since 17 November 2013 to provide improved resolutions to tenancy disputes in Dubai within a shorter time frame. Judge Abdul Qader Mousa is the current head of the RDC.
In Dubai, the relationship between landlord and tenant is governed by Law No. 26 of 2007 as amended by Law No. 33 of 2008 (“Tenancy Law”).
Article 25(2) of the Tenancy Law provides four grounds whereby a landlord may evict a tenant upon expiry of the tenancy contract provided that a prior written notice of termination is served to the tenant at least 12 months beforehand by Notary Public or by registered mail. The four grounds are as follows:
In a recent judgment, the Appeal Department of the RDC overruled the First Instance Department of RDC in relation to eviction and non-renewal clauses in the contractual agreement between the landlord and the tenant. We highlight below the main clarifications issued by the Appeal Department regarding tenancy contracts disputes.
The RDC has clarified that it shall not admit any tenancy dispute case prior to completion of the mandatory 30 days’ notice period stated in Article 16 of Dubai Decree No. 26 of 2013.
This is a departure from previous judgments passed by the old rent committee and adds an increased level of transparency and fairness to the parties in dispute. Further RDC’s renewed approach is in compliance with best practices applicable to tenancy disputes.
Non renewal clause
A common clause seen widely in tenancy contracts is: “Renewal is at the discretion of the Landlord. This Tenancy Contract shall terminate upon expiry and the tenant shall vacate the premises.”
In the present judgment, the Appeal Department of the RDC emphasized the importance of UAE public policy and regarded this clause to be in breach of such policy. Article 25(2) of the Tenancy Law lays down the four limited grounds whereby a landlord can demand eviction of the tenant upon expiry of the tenancy contract and any other ground would not be acceptable to RDC.
In the past we have seen varying judgments with conflicting views issued by the old rent committee. We hope that the RDC continues to issue such clear judgments in future cases.
The decision by the Appeal Department is particularly helpful as it provides a clear judgment. The approach adopted by the new RDC is consistent with the Tenancy Law as well as public policy in UAE.
The RDC has indicated that they will implement various new initiatives in the near future including the following:
Al Tamimi & Company’s Litigation team together with the Property team regularly advise clients on such tenancy dispute matters, including filing and managing cases before the RDC.