An apartment, flat or a villa are perfect types of rental properties for expatriates who want to have a place of their own, here in the UAE. Most tenants commit to completing the term in their rental contract; however, certain situations such as a family emergency, new job offer abroad, or company relocation can force the tenant to terminate the rental agreement early. The need to break a tenancy contract in these cases is usually a dilemma that many tenants run into.
Most people do not realise this, but the law does not require tenants to give a 90-day notice to the landlord for non-renewal. Last year, the Dubai Land Department (DLD) launched a unified lease contract for all to avoid disputes. However, the new system policy on renewal and/or early termination of contracts is not written into the agreement. Tenants should check if the rental agreement includes an early exit clause and the corresponding penalties in breach of contract cases.
Read the fine print
Article 14 of the Real Estate Regulatory Agency Law 33 of 2008 has already amended the requirement written under Article 14 of Law 26 of 2007 requiring a 90-day notice for non-renewal. Should there be an early termination clause, this should be added to the agreement as an option printed in the blank spaces provided on the form.
Remember that you also have an Ejari contract. This means that you will be unable to register a new tenancy if the previous contract is still in force.
Negotiate with the landlord
Approach the property owner and negotiate to reach a mutual understanding. They will be more than happy to assist you with your circumstances and may come up with a better contract termination deal. Most landlords settle for a one or two-months’ worth of rent as penalty, while some require up to three months in advance for breaking the contract prematurely.
In some cases, the property owner could return the remaining cheques without depositing if the tenant issued four post-dated cheques for the entire year.
Know your responsibilities
Apart from the normal wear and tear, make sure to turn the apartment over to the landlord in the same condition as it was handed over at the time of renting it to you. Article 21 of Law No. 26 of 2006: “Upon the expiry of the term of the Lease Contract, the tenant must surrender possession of the real property to the landlord in the same condition in which the tenant received it at the time of entering into the lease contract except for ordinary wear and tear or for damage due to reasons beyond the tenant’s control. In the event of a dispute between the two parties, the matter must be referred to the Tribunal to issue an award in this regard.”
Before signing on the dotted line, tenants should exercise due diligence to avoid problems in the future.