If you are going to sign a rental agreement for the property to be used as a home, you should know what your obligations and rights are, whether you are the landlord (owner) or the tenant (tenant).
Visit Cheap Apartment for rent in downtown Dubai to get more knowledge about your rights and obligations from Zoom Property experts before signing a rental agreement.
These obligations and rights are reflected in the Urban Leasing Law (LAU) as well as in some precepts of the Civil Code (CC). Here we highlight the most relevant, so you don’t get lost.
- The duration of the contract
- Housing conditions
- Rent payment
- Attention to the null clauses
The Duration Of The Contract
The time for which the owner will provide the use of the dwelling to the tenant must be determined by agreement between the parties excluding indefinite periods.
The lessor and lessee can agree on any term, but if they do not, it will be understood that the contract has a duration of one year.
However, regardless of the agreed duration, the tenant will have the right to extend the contract for a minimum three years.
Thus, even if a period of one or two years has been agreed, if the tenant decides to stay in the house, he or she may do so even without the agreement of the owner, up to a maximum of three years.
Despite this, in the event that the contract enters into this mandatory extension for the owner, he has the option, from the first year of duration, to terminate the contract if he needs the home for himself or for a relative of up to first grade (children, father or mother).
This need may arise when the owner is left homeless for himself, or when one of his children wants to become independent and they do not have another home or even in the event that the owner, who is living abroad, wants to return to Abu Dhabi when you retire and need the rented property.
It is also an obligation of the owner, together with the delivery of the house, to keep it in the agreed conditions throughout the agreed term.
This obligation implies that the owner must carry out the necessary repair work so that it complies with the habitability conditions agreed at the beginning of the contract.
For example, if the home was delivered with a certain heating or cooling system, repairs of these services must be carried out by the owner. An agreement by which the tenant undertakes the repair works is not valid.
The Obligation To Repair The Home Has Two Exceptions:
- When damage to the home is caused voluntarily or negligently by the tenant.
- For the execution of small repairs derived from ordinary use, which is an obligation of the tenant.
The difference between repair works by the owner and small repairs by the tenant is not specified in LAU, so it has been the courts that have been determining what type of work is included in each concept.
For example, the landlord must pay for repairs to leaks and humidity, as well as for the electrical system, while the tenant must carry out small repairs, such as fixing superficial cracks or changing any part of the washing machine necessary to make it work.
For its part, the main obligation of the tenant is to satisfy the rent in the agreed amount at the given time, which will normally be monthly and in cash.
The update or increase of the rent may be carried out, with prior notification by the interested party, provided that it has been foreseen in the contract that said update will proceed.
Although this is the most common way of paying for the use of the home and art. 17.5 LAU also admits since 2013 that the parties agree that the rent can be replaced by certain repair or reform works, without implying that the tenant no longer has the rights of the LAU.
For example, if the house has kitchen or bathroom defects at the time of renting it, the tenant may assume the obligation to put them in the right conditions in exchange for a reduction of the rent, either total or partial.
Depending on the entity of the works, therefore, the tenant will not have to pay any rent in money, but will carry out rehabilitation works.
When starting the contract, the tenant also has the obligation to provide a deposit, equivalent, at least, to a monthly rent.
Although the parties may agree on a higher amount deposit or even other guarantees such as the obligation to take out insurance that covers the risk of non-payment of rent or damage to the home.
In fact, the tenant has the obligation not to cause damage to the home, when they go beyond ordinary wear and tear, as well as not to do unhealthy, annoying, illegal or dangerous activities in the home, a fact that would allow the owner to request the contractual resolution.
The tenant must also take into account that, apart from the above, the landlord can request the termination of the contract if he stops living in the house (except when his spouse or descendants still reside).
As well as if the tenant subleases or yields housing to a third party without the prior consent of the owner.
Finally, as of 2013, it has been facilitated that the owner can end the contract when he sells the house or when, for example, a foreclosure on the property takes place.
If the lease was not entered in the Land Registry, the new owner of the rented property, provided it is in good faith, may terminate the contract.
The Supreme Court has understood that it is difficult to consider that a buyer acts in good faith, if it does not know that there was a tenant in the house, since it means that it did not physically verify that it was rented.
In this case, good faith can only be understood in the purchase of multiple homes by real estate funds, due to the difficulty of checking the status of each of the homes.
The same happens with the eviction of the house, if the lease is not registered. The tenant will not be entitled to any compensation for the fact that the new owner can end the contract.
Attention To The Null Clauses
The clauses that appear most frequently in contracts and which are null for contravening the LAU are the following:
- The contract is called “seasonal” when it does not really have such a purpose, but is permanent, with the intention of excluding the LAU.
- When the right to an extension of up to three years is eliminated.
- When the tenant is waived in the contract of his right to withdraw from the contract unilaterally, or demands that a contractual period of more than six months required by the LAU has elapsed.
- When the tenant is obliged in the contract to bear the costs of the home repair works which are the owner’s obligation.
- When the tenant is required to allow access to the home to the owner under any circumstances. The rented house is protected by the inviolability right of the tenant’s domicile, for which the owner will require your consent to enter it or a judicial authorization.