Question: I am a resident of Dubai. I have been living in a two-bedroom apartment for the last four years. The contract was renewed six months back with six cheques for the year. I have another two cheques to go and, due to some financial difficulties, I will not be able to meet the rent obligation. I expect the crisis to end soon. Can I request a postponement in payment? What are the options open to me? What happens if the real estate company refuses to not hold the cheque? Can I request that I be allowed to end the contract without any penalties, as I really don't have the money to pay the penalty?
Answer: Pursuant to your queries, as your rented apartment is situated in the emirate of Dubai, the provisions of Law No. 26 of 2007 Regulating the Relationship between Landlords and Tenants in the Emirate of Dubai (Dubai Tenancy Law) and Law No. (33) of 2008 Amending Law No. (26) of 2007 Regulating the Relationship between Landlords and Tenants in the Emirate of Dubai (Amended Dubai Tenancy Law) are applicable.
It should be noted that it is the responsibility of the tenant to pay the rent to the landlord on the due dates.
This is in accordance with Article 19 of the Dubai Tenancy Law, which states: “The Tenant must pay the Rent on due dates…..”
In the event of non-payment of rent by the tenant, the landlord may seek the tenant's eviction in accordance with Article 25(1)(a) of the Amended Dubai Tenancy law, which states: “1. The Landlord may seek eviction of the Tenant from the Real Property prior to the expiry of the term of the Tenancy only in the following cases:
a) where the Tenant fails to pay the Rent or any part thereof within thirty (30) days after the date a Notice to pay is given to the Tenant by the Landlord unless otherwise agreed by the parties...”
If you do not pay the rents when it is due, the landlord has the right to deposit your rent cheques at its bank for collection. In the event the cheque issued by you is dishonoured by your bank, then the landlord may file a complaint against you.
It should be noted that a dishonour of cheque is a criminal offence in the UAE in accordance with Article 401 of the Federal Law No. 3 of 1987 on Penal Code. The landlord may file a criminal complaint against you for a dishonoured cheque and civil claim against you at the Rental Dispute Centre in Dubai to recover the rents which are not paid by you for the remaining term of the tenancy contract.
You and your landlord may mutually agree to a reduction in rent; early termination of the tenancy contract; rent-free period options; or any other concessions on the grounds of your financial difficulties.
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: email@example.com or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.
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