Dumping furniture, other items in building corridors is illegal in UAE
It may be noted that as a tenant, you are entitled to peacefully reside in the rented apartment.
Q-I am a tenant in an apartment situated in the Deira locality of Dubai. My tenancy contract is valid up to May 31, 2020. However, I am eager to terminate the agreement before its completion period and intend to vacate the apartment by November 30, 2019, as I am facing certain issues. Certain corridors and hallways are dumped with furniture, home appliances and personal items. Besides, the tenant residing in a neighbouring apartment is carrying out catering services and I have noticed strangers visiting the apartment at odd hours. Can the tenancy contract be terminated prior to the completion of the agreement period? Do I have to pay the penalty for an early termination of the tenancy contract?
A- Law No. (26) of 2007 regulating the relationship between landlords and tenants in the emirate of Dubai (the 'Tenancy Law'), Law No. (33) of 2008 Amending Law No. (26) of 2007 regulating the relationship between landlords and tenants in the emirate of Dubai (the 'Amended Tenancy Law') and Law No. (27) of 2007 concerning ownership of jointly owned real property in the emirate of Dubai (the 'Jointly Owned Properties Law of Dubai') are applicable in this case.
It may be noted that as a tenant, you are entitled to peacefully reside in the rented apartment. The corridors and hallways of a property are designated as common areas. This is in accordance with Article 7(1)(a) of the Jointly Owned Properties Law of Dubai. Further, common areas are defined in Article 1 of the Jointly Owned Properties Law of Dubai as "those common parts of a property designated for common use by unit owners and occupiers and shown in the site plan".
It may, therefore, be construed that the accumulation of furniture, home appliances and personal items in the corridors and hallways of the property is prejudicial to the rights of other tenants and owners to use the common areas. Such obstruction of the building's corridors and hallways may also endanger the safety of the other residents and the safety of the property which may lead to a violation of Article 24 of the Jointly Owned Properties Law of Dubai. The neighbouring tenant is conducting catering services and may not be utilising the apartment for residential purpose as mentioned in their tenancy contract. Therefore, the landlord of that apartment may demand the eviction of such tenants as mentioned in Article 25(1)(e) of the Amended Tenancy Law. You may, therefore, approach the landlord and the building management regarding the disturbance caused to you by your neighbour.
In response to your first query, it may be noted that the tenancy contract is binding on the tenant and the landlord and none of the parties may unilaterally terminate the tenancy contract without the consent of the other party. This is in accordance with Article 7 of the Tenancy Law.
Neither the landlord nor the tenant may terminate the tenancy contract unless there is a provision mentioned in the agreement pertaining to its early termination. In the absence of an early termination provision, if the tenant terminates the tenancy contract, the landlord may be entitled to receive compensation.
You may, therefore, be liable to compensate the landlord by forfeiting the rental amount for the rest of the term of the tenancy contract if your landlord initiates legal action against you by approaching the Dubai Rental Dispute Settlement Centre at the Dubai Land Department in order to claim compensation from you. It would be prudent to first approach the landlord of your apartment and the building management pertaining to the aforementioned issues you are facing as a tenant before terminating the tenancy contract and vacating the rented apartment. If the landlord or the building management do not address your grievances, you may approach the Dubai Municipality and submit a written complaint against your neighbour.
Know the law
Where a lease contract is valid, it may not be unilaterally terminated during its term by the landlord or the tenant
Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom and India. Full details of his firm on: www.amalawyers.com. Readers may e-mail their questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.