In Dubai and Abu Dhabi, residents who do not own their own homes spend, on average, over 40 percent of their annual income on rent. Given the high cost of living in the UAE, combined with the importance of having a safe and comfortable home, it would behoove tenants to familiarize themselves with their rights and obligations under the law. Dubai and Abu Dhabi laws impose various requirements on both landlords and tenants. The most significant among them are:
Dubai: Disputes related to tenancy agreements in Dubai are exclusively heard by the Rental Dispute Settlement Centre (“RDSC”). The RDSC will first require the parties to attempt to resolve the dispute amicably. If no settlement is reached, the RDSC will refer the dispute to the First Instance Circuit, whose judgment may be appealed to the Appeal Circuit. However, the RDSC does not have jurisdiction over disputes arising from a lease finance contract or from a long-term lease agreement. Rather, such disputes will be referred to the Dubai Courts.
Abu Dhabi: Similar to Dubai, tenancy disputes in Abu Dhabi, with certain exceptions, are heard by the Abu Dhabi Rental Dispute Settlement Committee (“ADRDSC”). According to Resolution No. 25 of 2018, if the dispute is regarding the tenant’s failure to pay rent, the landlord may avoid conciliation and attempt to obtain an enforceable decision directly from the ADRDC. This is likely to be a faster process, as a judgment on such a dispute will be issued within a maximum of three weeks. However, this procedure is exclusive to disputes regarding the tenant’s default on rent and will be applicable only if the rental agreement has been registered with the Department of Municipalities in Abu Dhabi.
Where a final judgment is issued, the landlord cannot and shall not independently enter the leased premises to evacuate the tenant. The eviction order must be enforced by a bailiff, who would visit the rented premises and handover the property from the tenant to the landlord.