How to file a rental dispute

If you enter a conflict with your landlord that you’re unable to resolve there are other avenues for you to explore.

Peter Feely
August 8, 2017

If you enter a conflict with your landlord that you’re unable to resolve there are other avenues for you to explore

Have you ever found yourself shammed out of a substantial housing deposit for unfair reasons? Have you struggled in a rented flat with a toilet that won’t flush, mould or a cockroach infestation?

If so, you’ve probably dealt with a dodgy landlord. If you have indeed had the misfortune to rent a property from someone with the financial integrity of Bernie Madoff or the moral compass of Chris Brown, you’ll know the pain. Unfortunately, here in the Dubai, you also run the risk of renting from an unscrupulous landlord but luckily there are steps you can take to get a fair resolution.

If you landlord increases your rent by a small fortune that has no relation to the rest of the market (and is more than he is permitted by government’s rera calculator), you can take action. In fact, unfair rental increases are the most common reason that tenants end up taking their landlord to the Rental Dispute Centre (RDC).

So these here are the answers to the main questions people raise before the file a rental dispute:

What documents do I need?
Emirates ID
Passport and Visa
Tenancy agreement (original document)
Ejari certificate
Rental deposit receipt
Title deeds and passport copy of your landlord
Copies of cheques issued to your landlord
Any correspondence or documents, which support or are relevant to your case

What next?
Once you have all of your relevant documents, you will need to head to the Rental Dispute Centre. The department also has a typing centre, where you will be able to file your complaint. To discover the location of the centre, visit

How much does it cost?
For any complaint, you will need to pay a fixed fee, which is 3.5 per cent of your annual rent. So if you’re yearly rent is Dh100,000 the charge is Dh3,500. Luckily if you win the case, you can force your landlord to reimburse you.
If your documentation is in English, you will also need to pay the RDC for them to be translated into Arabic. This usually costs between Dh200 and Dh300.
There is also an administration cost of around Dh100.

How long does the process take?
If the RDC decide that your landlord has a case to answer, they will provide you with a time and a date to present your case. Depending on the complexity of the case, a resolution may take somewhere between weeks and months. You may also be called back to present additional evidence if the RDC are unable to resolve the dispute.