How to file a rental dispute in Dubai

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 Dubai Government’s Rental Increase 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 when filing a rental dispute?

  • 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, located in the Dubai Land Department office in Deira. The department also has a typing centre, where you will be able to file your complaint and get them translated into Arabic as and where required. Visit the official website of the RDC:

How much does it cost to file a rental dispute in Dubai?
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 100,000AED the charge is 3,500AED. Luckily if you win the case, your landlord will be forced to reimburse you for these fees.
If your documentation is in English, you will also need to pay the RDC for them to be translated into Arabic (this can be done at the typing centre at the RDC). This usually costs between 200AED and 300AED.
There is also an administration cost of around 100AED.

How long does the rental dispute 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.

Above all else, it is advisable to maintain good relations with your landlord and keep communication open, clear and on record. But in cases where things don’t go to plan, rest assured you can follow the steps above and file a rental dispute case. This is all part of the Government of Dubai’s plans to increase transparency and happiness when it comes to living in the emirate.



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