Noisy neighbours in Dubai ruining your sleep? Here's what you can do
Take this step if your management company is unable to help.
I have been living in a rented apartment located in the emirate of Dubai since December 2018 and experiencing a disturbing sound emitted from an unknown source since the time I have occupied the said flat. It has become impossible for me to sleep and live a normal life due to the noise and I have reported this to my building real estate management company. The company has not been able to resolve the issue nor have they provided the final date when such action will be taken to stop the sound. Based on this, I had requested the management company on numerous occasions to cancel the tenancy contract and compensate me from the time the noise has been disturbing me. However, it informed me that I could only terminate the contract once a new tenant is found and that no compensation will be provided to me. I have paid all my dues upfront and therefore, to move out I need to get my money back. Recently, I had approached the Rental Dispute Centre in Dubai and explained to them regarding the disturbing sound, but they told me that there is almost nothing they could do.
According to the law, the agency is obliged to hand over the property in good condition which was not the case, and after almost four months now of giving them time and space to resolve the issue, no progress has been made. Please advise.
It may be noted that it is the right of a tenant to enjoy peaceful possession in the rented premises. And it may further be noted that it is the responsibility of the owner of the building to provide peaceful possession of the rented apartment to the tenant. This is in accordance with the provisions of clause (1) under Article (770) of the Federal Law No. 5 of 1985 on the issuance of the Civil Transactions Law for the UAE (the 'Civil Law'), which states:
"A lessor may not cause any nuisance to a lessee in enjoying the benefit during the lease period and shall not make any change in the leased entity that prevents its benefit from being received or prejudices the benefit contracted upon; otherwise, he shall be liable therefor."
You may approach the Dubai Municipality and make a complaint against the real estate management company (charged with managing your apartment) concerned and the landlord in respect of the disturbing sound, which has become a nuisance to you and spoils your sleep. As such, there are specific provisions under Dubai Municipality's Local Order No. 61 of 1991 on the Environment Protection Regulations in the Emirate of Dubai (the 'DM Local Order'), pursuant to which the Dubai Municipality should investigate a source of noise within premises and issue directives for its correction as a remedy.
The term 'noise' is defined under clause 1 of Article (74) of the DM Local Order, which reads as follows:
"Article (74) In implementing the provisions of these regulations the following words and expressions shall have the meaning set against each of them:
1. Noise: Means any noise of such nature that unreasonably interferes with the peace, comfort and convenience of any person, other than a person in or on the premises from which the noise is being emitted. Noise may be emitted by:
a) Any musical instrument/ radio programme;
b) Any electrical appliance/microphone;
c) Any vehicle;
d) Any machine, while being operated in or at any premises;
e) Any person or persons, while attending any gathering or meeting in or at any residential premises or place of assembly."
Further under the provisions of clause (3) of Article (74) of the DM Local Order, the Dubai Municipality is also empowered to appoint 'noise control officer/s'. The applicable provision reads as follows:
"3. Noise Control Officer: The person authorised by Dubai Municipality to inspect, access and recommend control of noise."
And, the term "Premises" is meant to include private houses as well. The applicable provisions occur under clause (5) of the Article (74) of the DM Local Order, which reads as follows:
"5. Premises: Include any place where a trade, an industry or a craft is practised or a private house or worshipping place"
Pursuant to the above, it may also be noted that the Dubai Municipality may investigate on your complaint and issue necessary directives in accordance with the provisions of Article 78 of the DM Local Order, which states as follows:
"If, upon investigating the complaint, the Noise Control Officer or the policeman is of the opinion that the noise is excessive, he shall direct the person responsible for causing the excessive noise to forthwith abate it to a reasonable level or at the time set by the Noise Control Officer or the policeman."
And, if upon issuance of such order, the person concerned does not comply with the directives made in the order, the Noise Control Officer may take necessary actions, as provided under the provisions of Article (79) of the DM Local Order, which reads as follows:
If the person causing the noise is not complying with the issued order, the Noise Control Officer may take the following procedures:
1. Seize the instrument or render it inoperable by the removal of any part therefrom.
2. Lock or seal or temporary seize the noise-emitting instrument and transport it to the municipality stores for safekeeping.
3. Write the necessary report of the case and of action taken and propose proper penalty."
Further, it may be noted that the competent 'Noise Control Officer' of the Dubai Municipality may inspect the apartment to check the source of the noise, accompanied by a police officer. This is in accordance with Article 82 of the DM Local Order, which states -
"Noise Control Officer or the policeman may enter the premises from which the noise is being or has been emitted. The former shall not be entitled to enter any dwelling house for that purpose unless accompanied by a policeman, and shall produce an evidence of his identity if requested to do so by the occupier of the premises."
In pursuance of the above, and in view of the issues faced by you, it may be noted that you may approach the Dubai Municipality, for their intervention.
Know the law
If, upon investigating the complaint, the Noise Control Officer or the policeman is of the opinion that the noise is excessive, he shall direct the person responsible for causing the excessive noise to forthwith abate it to a reasonable level.
Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom, Singapore, 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, P.O. Box 11243, Dubai.