Live-in relationships in UAE: Who gets to stay in shared rented apartment after break-up?

Valuable items which both purchased together may be mutually divided between the girlfriend and boyfriend


Ashish Mehta

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Published: Sun 16 Jan 2022, 10:36 AM

Last updated: Sun 16 Jan 2022, 10:38 AM

Question: I started staying with my boyfriend after live-in relationships were legalised in the UAE. However, the relationship is not going too well and we may need to separate soon. We have some joint investments and expensive items we bought together. Legally speaking, how will these items be shared between us? Also, our rent contract is in my boyfriend’s name. Will I have to move out? Or is there an alternative where he moves out, since we both shared the rent?

Response: Pursuant to your queries, it should be noted that in the UAE, cohabitation may not be considered as a crime if an individual is not breaching the provisions laid down in UAE Decree Law No (31) of 2021 concerning the Penal Code (the ‘New Penal Code of UAE’) which is effective since January 2, 2022.

You and your boyfriend may approach the bank/s and/or financial institution/s where you hold joint investments and apply to withdraw the same and distribute between both of you. Alternatively, you may request the bank/s and/or financial institution/s to transfer the proceeds of investments to your respective bank accounts in an agreed ratio.

Further, valuable items which you both purchased together may be mutually divided between you and your boyfriend. However, if there is any disagreement related to distribution of the items, then the individual under whom the receipt was generated while purchasing the items shall be considered the owner of such item/product. The onus is upon the claimant to prove share in the purchased item.


Further, as the tenancy contract is registered in your boyfriend’s name officially, he is the tenant of the said rented apartment. Therefore, it is prudent on your part to vacate it. As you are sharing the rent of the apartment, you may request him to refund the amount you may have paid in advance. Alternatively, you may also request your boyfriend to approach the landlord and request to cancel the existing tenancy contract and make a new one in your name. If this happens, you could continue staying in the apartment.

You and your boyfriend may enter into a settlement agreement to avoid any ambiguity.

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: Readers may e-mail their questions to: or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.

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