Mohammad, a tenant living in Dubai, found himself in a difficult situation after his landlord demanded a steep 30% increase in rent and subsequently issued an eviction notice. Dissatisfied with the hike which he deemed unreasonable, Mohammad refused to pay the inflated rent amount. This led to the landlord serving an eviction notice, leaving Mohammad questioning the legality of such an action. 

Tenant Rejects Excessive Rent Hike

Let’s take a deeper look into Mohammad’s case and analyze the rental laws in Dubai to understand the rights of both the tenant and landlord in this situation.

Steep Rent Hike Demanded 

Mohammad had been living in a rented villa in Dubai for the past two years under a long-term tenancy contract with a local real estate agency. Everything was going smoothly until two months ago when he received a notice from the agency representing his landlord. To his surprise, the notice requested a 30% increase in the monthly rental amount. 

A 30% hike is considered extremely steep under normal circumstances. Given that Mohammad was already halfway through his existing tenancy period with no prior issues, such a major rent escalation seemed unjustified and unreasonable. Moreover, the notice came only two months before the expiry of his contract, which did not provide the stipulated three-month time period for considering a rent review.

Tenant Refuses Unreasonable Increase 

After assessing the situation carefully, Mohammad concluded that the demanded 30% increase was unwarranted and excessive. The condition of the villa had not improved to merit such a big jump in rent. General market rates in the area also did not point to a scenario where a 30% hike could be deemed fair. 

Knowing his rights as a tenant in Dubai, Mohammad wrote back to the real estate agency rejecting their rental increase proposal. He argued that the short notice provided and the unreasonable quantum of the hike violated the rental laws of the Emirate. Hoping that a reasonable compromise could be reached, Mohammad was ready for a modest increase in line with current market rates but not the excessive amount demanded.

Eviction Notice Served in Retaliation 

Much to Mohammad’s surprise, a month after his refusal the real estate agency served him an eviction notice. It appeared that instead of negotiating further on the rejected rent increase, the landlord had decided to forcibly evict Mohammad from the property in retaliation for not agreeing to the inflated rental amount. 

This left Mohammad questioning the legality of the eviction notice. Was the landlord within his rights to issue an eviction notice merely because the tenant refused an unjustified rent hike? Or was this an attempt at arm-twisting in violation of the rent control laws of Dubai? He decided to seek legal advice to understand his rights in this situation.

Rental Laws Analyzed 

Upon analyzing the rental laws that govern landlord-tenant relationships in Dubai, the legal expert provided the following advice to Mohammad:

  • As per Article 14 of Law 33 of 2008, the landlord can only request a rent review 3 months prior to the expiry of the existing contract. Here, the notice came only 2 months before expiry. 
  • If the parties cannot agree on rent, the landlord must file a case with RERA instead of taking the law into his own hands by serving an eviction notice. 
  • As per Article 13, RERA will determine a ‘fair rent’ increase based on property condition, market rates, economic factors – not an arbitrary 30% hike.
  • The landlord violated notice period rules under the law by demanding an increase with insufficient time for the tenant to consider options. 
  • Unless proven otherwise through due process, the eviction notice appears to be an illegal attempt at coercion rather than a legally tenable termination of the tenancy.

Based on these provisions, it was clear that the landlord had overstepped his rights by unilaterally hiking rent, providing inadequate notice period and serving an eviction notice without following legal recourse. Mohammad’s refusal of the unjustified rental increase was valid and protected under the law.

Seeking Legal Remedy 

Heartened by the legal advice, Mohammad decided to take action instead of vacating the property under duress. He filed a case with the Rental Disputes Centre (RDC) highlighting the contraventions of the landlord. 

RDC examined the matter and concurred that the landlord had violated key provisions of the rental law. It rejected the eviction notice as invalid and directed the landlord to follow due process under the law. If a rent review was still sought, RERA would determine the fair rental increase based on the mandated criteria.

This ruling protected Mohammad’s right to secure housing as per his tenancy contract without the fear of illegal eviction. It reaffirmed that tenants in Dubai are shielded from arbitrary, coercive actions of landlords outside established legal procedures. At the same time, it keeps landlords’ legitimate interests in fair rent reviews and property management within the ambit of the law.

Lessons for Tenants and Landlords

Mohammad’s case serves as an important reminder for tenants as well as landlords about their reciprocal rights and obligations under the UAE’s comprehensive rental laws:

  • Tenants can confidently assert legal protections against unjust rent hikes, insufficient notice periods and illegal eviction attempts. 
  • Landlords must follow due process, including timelines and dispute resolution forums, instead of taking the law into their own hands.
  • Both parties are advised to have open discussions within the ambit of the law to arrive at an amicable solution respecting each other’s interests.
  • Ignorance of the law is not an excuse. Tenants and landlords must educate themselves about their rights to avoid unnecessary disputes and protect their own stakes.
  •  Rental authorities like RERA and RDC exist to ensure a balanced, harmonious landlord-tenant relationship respecting the letter and spirit of the laws.

Mohammad’s case highlights how Dubai’s progressive rental framework upholds the rights of both tenants and homeowners through a fair, transparent dispute resolution mechanism. Ultimately, compliance with legal procedures and cooperative resolution of issues in the spirit of the law benefits all stakeholders in the Emirate’s rental ecosystem.