Dubai: Can apartment rents be reduced in the middle of tenancy contract?
Question: I live in a two-bedroom apartment in Dubai. I renewed my contract three months ago for Dh58,000 per annum. Another tenant in the building renewed his apartment — which is similar to mine, with the same amenities, size and views — just a month ago for Dh45,000 per annum. When I asked my real estate agent about this, he told me that the rent had suddenly decreased in the building because many apartments were empty. I feel this is unfair. Can I challenge my rent amount in light of this? Can my tenancy contract be reworked to factor in the latest trend?
Answer: Pursuant to your queries, as you are residing in a rented apartment in Dubai, the provisions of Law No. 26 of 2007 Regulating the Relationship between Landlords and Tenants in the Emirate of Dubai (the ‘Dubai Tenancy Law’) and the provisions of Law No. 33 of 2008 Amending Law No. 26 of 2007 Regulating the Relationship between Landlords and Tenants in the Emirate of Dubai (the ‘Amended Dubai Tenancy Law’) are applicable.
It may be noted that the rent increase and decrease related to residential or commercial premises in Dubai is decided by the Dubai Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA) based on the rent calculator designed by the Land Department of Dubai.
The rent calculator is an index designed and prepared to determine and monitor the rents, keeping in mind certain factors such as the location of the property, the size of the apartment, and the amenities provided to the tenant.
Article 10 of the Dubai Tenancy Law states: “RERA shall have the authority to establish criteria relating to the percentage of Rent increase in the Emirate in line with the requirements of the prevailing economic situation in the Emirate.”
Based on the aforementioned provision of law, you may check the approximate rent value of your apartment through the RERA rent calculator on the website of the Land Department of Dubai.
In the event you find the rent for the similar apartment in your residential area is lesser than the rent you are paying to your landlord, you may approach your real estate agent and mention the same. If the real estate agent does not agree on your request, you may approach the Rental Dispute Centre (RDC) of Dubai and file a complaint against your landlord for charging you higher rent.
Further, even though you have agreed to the current rent while renewing your tenancy contract and the RERA rent calculator states it is reasonable, you may still consider approaching the RDC. You could request the authority to revise the rent on the grounds that another tenant in your building is paying lesser for a similar apartment.
This is in accordance with Article 9 (2) of the Amended Dubai Tenancy Law, which states: “The Tribunal will determine the Rent of similar Real Property taking into account the criteria determining the percentage of Rent increase set by RERA, the overall economic situation in the Emirate, the condition of the Real Property, and the average Rent of similar Real Property in similar Real Property markets within the same area and in accordance with any applicable legislation in the Emirate concerning Real Property Rent, or any other factors which the Tribunal deems appropriate."