Know your rights


Ben Crompton is a former lawyer and current managing partner of Crompton Partners Estate Agents LLC. So when it comes to residents’ questions about and lord’s obligations and the rules on subleasing, he’s your man


I’m about to move into a new property. What are my landlord’s obligations to prepare it?

If you’re renting residential property, the law states that the landlord needs to make it habitable, nothing more. The landlord has no legal obligation to clean, repaint or spray the property for pests, but they often at least repaint as a matter of good practice.

If the property – or any part of it – is uninhabitable, or becomes uninhabitable, then you can apply to the Rent Committee (see box below) to refund or reduce the rent.


I’ve just moved in. What are my landlord’s obligations if something goes wrong?

UAE law states that “the landlord shall maintain the leasehold to keep it fit for use and carry out all necessary repairs – excluding rental repairs – during the rental period unless otherwise agreed”. ‘Rental repairs’ include repairing damage to the fixtures and fittings in a property – light fittings, cupboards, wardrobes and sometimes white goods that came with the property. These repairs are the responsibility of the tenant. The landlord must repair structural deficiencies – such as plumbing, electrics, walls and the roof.

If the landlord fails to conduct repairs then the tenant may carry out the repairs and deduct the cost from the rent, but be aware: you must ask the Rent Committee first (see box below).


Can I house-share, sub-let to other people or assign the lease to another tenant?

The tenant may not assign or sub-let the property in whole or in part without the written permission of the landlord.

If house-sharing, tenants should consider Federal law No. 1 of 2011. Under this law, up to three unrelated people may occupy each room in an apartment or villa, however no more than six unrelated people in total may occupy a villa – there is no limit for apartments. Only one family unit may occupy an apartment or villa, not multiple families. Unrelated males and females may not live together.


When can my landlord raise my rent, terminate my tenancy agreement or change the terms of my lease?

In the event that either party does not wish to renew the lease, or wishes to amend the conditions of the lease, that party shall notify the other in writing two months prior to the date of the lease’s expiry, in the case of residential properties. Your landlord must give you two months’ written notice to raise the rent or terminate the lease.

Tenants should make a note of when their lease is coming up for renewal. As soon as the two-month period passes, the lease will automatically renew on the same terms. After this period, neither party can alter the terms of the tenancy agreement and the landlord can’t refuse to renew the contract either.

During the lease, neither side can renegotiate the terms of the tenancy agreement – including raising or lowering the rent – without the permission of the other party.


I know I need to give two months’ notice before the end of the tenancy agreement to terminate it, but how can I terminate the tenancy agreement early?

You cannot terminate your lease whenever you like. You can only terminate the lease before it expires, if…

  • There is a termination clause in the tenancy agreement
  • You come to an agreement with the landlord – otherwise you will not be able to terminate the lease and will be liable for the rent until the lease ends.

Many landlords will allow tenants to terminate the tenancy agreement for a small penalty if the tenant finds someone to replace them.


My landlord has decided not to renew my contract. Should he provide me with a reason?

Your landlord does not have to explain why they are not renewing your lease. Before November 2013, landlords were obliged to renew leases unless they had good reason not to – they wanted to move in or demolish the unit. Now, however, your landlord doesn’t need a reason, only the required two months’ notice before your lease agreement expires.


What happens if my landlord sells his property to another person?

The short answer is your position doesn’t change. Your lease will pass over to the new landlord upon purchase. The new landlord is bound by it as if he has signed it himself. To alter or terminate the tenancy agreement the new landlord must still give the tenant at least two months’ notice before the end of the tenancy agreement.


Enforcing your rights

The Rent Dispute Settlement Committee – informally known as the Rent Committee – is located by the Marriage Fund in Al Nahyan Camp on Hazza bin Zayed Street.
The Tenancy Law established this body in 2005 to hear disputes between tenants and landlords. If your landlord breaches your contract, the Rent Committee should be your first port of call.

This guide is a brief look at selected parts of the Tenancy Law and should not be relied upon in a legal context. Seek professional legal advice before taking legal action.

Have a question? Then email

Posted in Living | 22 Comments

22 thoughts on “Know your rights

  1. Ashraf


    I am terminating my contract early as I am leaving the country. I have secured a tenant for the landlord but she decided to increase the rent on the new tenant only 3 months after I’ve rented the flat. She gave the new potential tenant an option to rent another flat from her relative instead.

    Where does this leave me?

    I have given her 2 cheques, one is cashed but will leave 2 months before the first six months end which leave 2 months worth of money with the landlord.

    In our contract there is a clause which mentions a 2 months notice period without any penalty upon termination.

    Please advise me on this matter.



    1. Jack Dignum Post author

      Hi there,

      The best thing we advise you do is contact Ben Crompton from Crompton Partners Estate Agents on: 050 614 5199

      Thanks for writing in.

  2. Elizabeth Gowan

    I am lessor of villa in Al Reef. I know I am responsible for major maintenance, but am I responsible for cleaning air conditioners. I am aware of my responsibilities for repair . Tenant advised me that paving had lifted due to tree removal from neighbours yard. Am I responsible to fix pavers?

    1. Rachael Peacock

      Dear Elizabeth,

      For any concerns about your legal rights please contact Ben Crompton at Crompton Estate Agents: 050 614 5199

      The ADW Team

  3. ivy

    Dear Sir/Maam,

    I hope you can advice what to do regarding my problem.
    I am renting a room in a villa with contract.
    Last September 2014, I got a notice from the Real State Office that they are going to increase the rent from Dhs.2500 to Dhs.3000 effective January 2015.
    Last Aug. 12,2015 I got another notice of increase effective 1st of September 2015 from Dhs.3000 to Dhs.4000. I tried to negotiate at least Dhs.500 increase only, but I was failed and it was stated in the letter that if I don’t agree I have to leave the room end of August 2015(this month)
    I feel unsettled because some other rooms got Dhs.300 to Dhs.500 increase only, Do I have any right or what should I do.
    I’m confused.
    Please advice.

    Thanking you in advance,
    Ivy Marin
    055 7192124

  4. Alex Coloma

    Regrettably, I notified my landlord one month in advance only due to unexpected circumstances. He advised me to renew the contract or pay penalty of equivalent to two months rent. Is this legal as he was contesting so?

    1. Alex Coloma

      Disregard that last comment. My landlord is absolutely right. I checked different sites and asked around. So big advise to all, notify your landlord at least 90 days in advance. And that’s every tenants’ responsibility.

  5. Michael saad

    we have a shop at Marina mall, it is about 14 m2the managment of the mall are requesting us firmly to downsize our shop to 6 m2 , claiming that this there new size standard for |kiosks,
    but they want to keep the same rent .
    it si like they are doubling the price per m2.

    14 sqm at 250.000
    now 6 sqm at 250.000

    do they have this right of increasing the rent.
    do they have the right to evict us if we do not
    approve their proposal ?
    Please we need your advise and help , as we are
    alone in this dilemma , and we are receiving different point of views.
    awaiting your very kind reply
    Best Regards
    Michael Saad

  6. Rasha

    hi im buying a property in abu dhabi in reem island directly from the developer on mortgage plan
    The property is already rented
    The rent amount is considered mine from the time i signed the MOU or the SPA or when they recieve the money from the bank or what?!!
    Also the contract

  7. asma

    My lease agreement was renewed in july 2015 for a villa in Sas al nakhl compound abudhabi. My family situations changed suddenly and i need to vacate the house. Annual rent was paid by my employer company to landlord. How can i get a smooth exit without having to pay 9 months rent as a penalty.

  8. Roxame


    My landlord has decided to make me pay extra 300 for Electricity and Water while when in my contract it is clearly written that rent is included with water and electricity. Can they do it?

    Thank you.

  9. Scott Sheppard

    Is it common for a landlord to pay for the repair or servicing of the: air-conditioning, also, broken locks caused by corrosion and faulty cupboard shelving?

    1. Rachael Peacock

      Hi Scott,

      We will answer a similar question to this and many more in an upcoming issue, so keep your eyes peeled.

  10. ravi

    Dear Sir,

    if family want to stay in a Rented Villa in Abudhabi,
    how to check that “Villa is Legal or Illegal”
    is there any contact number/ website or any document, to check the legality of the Villa

    Please clarify,

    1. Colin Armstrong

      Hello Ravi,

      The best thing we advise you do is contact Ben Crompton from Crompton Partners Estate Agents on: 050 614 5199 – he can provide you with some advice on the matter.

  11. Rachael Peacock


    Thanks for your message. For any property-related enquiries we suggest you contact District Real Estate: 02 445 1533

    The ADW team


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