Leases and Rental Agreements

Understand the different elements of the tenancy agreement and the obligations of the landlord and tenant when renting property in Dubai...

Most leases are for one year, although short term lets are possible, either weekly or monthly. These are usually available through the same channels as long-term rentals, with one difference: that the rent is paid in full either to the owner or property management agent. Utility bills are included in a short-term rental.

Long term leases of one year are only for residents of Dubai, or those with a residence visa, so it is not uncommon for a sponsor, usually the employer, to be named on the lease.

On signing the lease, the following documents are required:

Tenants:

  • Copy of their passport
  • Copy of their UAE residency visa, or a letter from the employer stating that the visa is being processed
  • Statement of income from their employer

Landlord/Estate Agent:

  • Copy of the title deed or proof of ownership (sale contract)
  • Copy of the landlord's passport (and residence visa if applicable)
  • Copy of the Estate Agent's Broker ID card
  • Receipt on company letterhead for any monies paid (rent and commissions)

By law, all leases are registered with RERA, and must include information on rent capping, which was introduced in 2008. All rents must be linked in to the RERA rent index, and landlords may only increase the rent by five percent of the rental agreement, if the property is at least 25 percent below the average index price.

Rent is usually paid in advance by a series of post-dated cheques. Often the number of post-dated cheques depends on how flexible the landlord is. It is the legal responsibility of the tenant to ensure there are sufficient funds to cover the post-dated cheques.

The tenancy agreement, which must be written, must include:

  • Signature of both tenant and landlord
  • Description of the property
  • Address of the property
  • Purpose of tenancy
  • Period of tenancy
  • Rent value
  • Method of payment

Registering the Lease

All rental contracts must be registered online with RERA, on the EJARI website (which means My Rent in Arabic). Either the landlord or the tenant may register the contract without notification to the other party. Registering the lease helps if there are any disputes between the landlord and tenant.

Landlord's and Tenant's Obligations

The landlord or leasing office must provide a tenant with building rules (or community by-laws) for tenants occupying an apartment, multi-unit dwelling or living in a gated community.

How to Terminate an Agreement or Evict a Tenant

If a tenant - or a landlord - wants to terminate an agreement before the end of the contract, they must give notice according to the terms set forth in the lease agreement. Tenants may still be responsible for the remaining rental payments due on the lease until a new tenant is secured.

A landlord can only evict a tenant before the end of a tenancy agreement for the following reasons:

  • The tenant has failed to pay rent for 30 days after notification from the landlord
  • The tenant has subleased the property without the landlord's consent
  • The tenant has used the premises for illegal or immoral purposes
  • The tenant has used the premises for a purpose not allowed by the tenancy contract
  • The property is in danger of collapse