From rental prices to maintenance matters, renting a unit in Dubai continues to be a hot topic. Dubai’s lease system attempts to strike a balance between the rights, responsibilities, and interests of tenants and landlords. However, legal firms continue to see a number of cases involving disputes over tenancy agreements. Sadly, the process of resolving these disagreements can be onerous for both the landlord and the tenants.

In Dubai, most lease-related disputes arise out of situation of rental increases or decreases; the non-payment of rent or the evacuation of the unit.

In most cases, these disputes can be avoided at the time of the lease signing. However, in certain cases, matters between the landlord and tenant can sometimes escalate.

As a result, there is an initial need to distinguish between the interests of landlords and tenants. Landlords are typically investors, residing inside or outside Dubai, interested in deriving substantial benefit from their investment. Alternatively, tenants are usually expats working in Dubai who are interested in minimising their costs and expenses in order to save money. Since the rent takes a substantial part of the tenant’s income, differences in motivations can arise.

So, when these disagreements arise, is it worth the cost, time and effort of litigation to resolve it? In most cases, the answer is no.

Instead of immediately going to court, tenancy disputes can be easily settled in the bud by simply taking these steps:

1. Understand the contract.

Landlords and tenants need to understand their relationship is contractually based. In many cases problems arise because one party does not know they have broken the lease agreement, and are at fault.

At the beginning of the negotiations, landlords and tenants should take the time to reach a mutual agreement on the terms and conditions they may think appropriate and ensure these agreed terms and conditions are in consistent the laws and regulations applicable in Dubai.

Both parties should also carefully read and understand the terms and conditions, as to their rights and responsibilities specified in the contract, before they sign in agreement.

These negotiations help limit surprises and ensure all agreed terms and provisions are in writing avoiding any future misunderstandings and difference in views. In return, this will substantially reduce the need for either party to attend court in the future.

2. Meet face-to-face.

Landlords and tenants should meet before signing any agreement to better know and understand each other. This can help weed out troublesome tenants or difficult landlords. Subsequently, these parties should aim to build a healthy relationship to ensure disagreements are resolved in a civil manner before they are escalated.

In case a dispute arises, many problems can be solved if the issue is discussed thoroughly through a telephone call or face-to-face meeting. A new agreement can therefore be easily reached or the existing terms and conditions can be slightly amended to reflect their new agreement according to their respective needs. Therefore, they will be able to maintain a long-lasting, friendly relationship and any problems regarding the premises can be easily resolved without legal action.

While not all rent-related disputes can be solved in this manner, keeping the above steps in mind can prove very useful for all parties.

When a lessee is liaising with a landlord through an agent it is important to remember the agent is not obligated to pass on the landlord’s details. In this cases the lessee does have the right to ask the agent for the POA and its expiry date, the property’s Title Deed, the owners passport in the event the owner lives outside of the UAE or all of the above and the landlord’s Emirates ID should the landlord reside in the UAE.

Rental disputes in Dubai can be an area of considerable stress for both tenants and landlords. However, by understanding the lease and building an amicable relationship, in which tenants and landlords can openly communicate with and reach out to each other, both parties involved in a rental arrangement can successfully navigate any disagreements or conflicts without resulting to the courts.

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Shehab Mamdouh

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