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16th September 2015

In 2012, the Abu Dhabi Executive Council lifted the 5 percent rent cap on rent increases of Abu Dhabi rental properties. So the next question is, “What, if anything, will replace it?”

As leasing prices of Abu Dhabi rental property rise steadily, long-term tenants seem concerned about unrealistic annual rent increases by greedy landlords. Further, despite reports of a decline in rent rises this year, the government is under pressure to reinstate rent controls in order to prevent those in lower income brackets from being priced out of the rental market and attract and retain investors to Abu Dhabi. So, whilst Abu Dhabi rental property values appear to be stabilising, the danger of prices going up again remains and may affect Abu Dhabi’s competitiveness as a city for people to live and work in. Right after it abolished the rent cap, the Council had been expected to introduce a Dubai-style rent index, under which Abu Dhabi would have been divided into zones and a rent guide set for each. However, no policy has been implemented so far.

We’ve put together FAQs about Abu Dhabi rental properties. Take a look.

I am about to move into a new Abu Dhabi rental property. What are my landlord’s obligations to prepare it?

When it comes to Abu Dhabi rental properties, the law states that the landlord only needs to make it habitable and does not have a legal obligation to clean, repaint or spray the property for pests. However, as a gesture of goodwill, he/she may repaint the Abu Dhabi rental property.

I have just moved into an apartment. What are my landlord’s responsibilities in terms of repairs?

The law states that “the landlord shall maintain the leasehold to keep it fit for use and carry out all necessary repairs – excluding rental repairs – during the rental period unless otherwise agreed”. Repairs such as damage to the fixtures and fittings such as lights, wardrobes and few white goods that came with the Abu Dhabi rental property are the responsibility of the tenant. The landlord is in charge of repairing deficiencies such as plumbing, electrics, walls and the roof.

When can my landlord raise my rent, terminate the tenancy agreement or change the terms of the lease?

Whether the landlord and tenant do not wish to renew the contract or opt to amend the conditions of the lease, it is the responsibility of both parties to notify the other in writing two months prior to the date of the lease’s expiry. This means that if your landlord wishes to raise the rent or terminate the lease, he/she must give you at least two months’ written notice.

As soon as the two-month period is over, the lease will automatically renew on the same terms and neither you nor the landlord can change the terms and conditions of the tenancy agreement or refuse to renew the Abu Dhabi rental property contract.

Can I terminate the tenancy agreement early?

You cannot terminate your lease whenever you like, unless you come to an agreement with the landlord who may allow you to do so for a small penalty if you find someone to replace your occupation of the Abu Dhabi rental property.

If my landlord decides not to renew my contract, it is mandatory for him/her to provide me with a reason?

No. Before November 2013, it was mandatory for landlords had to renew leases of Abu Dhabi rental properties unless they wanted to move in or had to demolish the unit. However presently, your landlord does not need to offer you a reason, but only provide the required two months’ notice before your contract expires.

What happens if my landlord decides to sell the property?

Your lease will just pass over to the new landlord. Similarly, to alter or terminate the agreement, the new landlord must still give you at least two months’ notice.

Is there a committee I can go to for disputes or legal action?

Yes. The Rent Dispute Settlement Committee is located by the Marriage Fund in Al Nahyan Camp on Hazza bin Zayed Street. This should be first port of call if your landlord breaches your contract or if you need legal guidance pertaining to Abu Dhabi rental properties.

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