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What to Do with Rental Dispute in UAE Due to Non-Payment Rent

Whether you are currently in a rental dispute in UAE with a renter who is past due to his/her rent or you have tenants with a long history of not paying bills, there’s one thing that’s undeniable. That is the fact that it costs you money and time just to rectify your situation. In this article, we’ll give you some tips in order to take action with regard to the rental dispute in UAE. Let’s start! 

Check the lease documents 

Double check the payment records of the tenant, including the lease agreement. This is to ensure that a tenant is truly past due payment of rent. More often than not, landlords can keep a better record of payments on paper compared to doing it in their heads. 

The majority of lease agreements contain a clause which gives tenants a three or five day grace period. In this time period, the payment should be given to the landlord. If you have already double-checked and you’ve found that a tenant is actually late, you are bound to provisions agreed in the lease. You will be entitled to extra fees if payments are late. 

A lease often specifies a fee for late fees. If it does not, then you cannot just change your mind and the agreement and charge your tenants. 

How Lawyers in UAE Help with Tenant and Landlord Disagreements

Send a notice for late rent payment 

It is advised that you serve tenants with late rent notices. The letters will remind tenants of rent that is already past due. A notice should include a comprehensive list of fees that are owed, including late fees, as well as a warning on further legal action that may be taken should the rent not be settled in full within a prescribed period of time. A notice can be served in person, taped to a unit’s door or emailed to a tenant after rent is due. 

A notice will help later on when legal proceedings are pushed forward. It will be the evidence of the pattern of a tenant for making late payments. 

Make a call 

Calling a tenant in order to find out what is actually going on may be done prior to or following the serving of late rent notice. But, this has to be done only once in order to avoid any accusation of harassing a tenant. A phone call can serve the purpose of a late rent notice with the added benefit of being able to speak to a delinquent tenant in person. As such, try not to substitute emails for a call over the landline or mobile phone. 

Serve a quit notice 

This is more of an official statement rather than a late rent notice. This is technically your first step in evicting a tenant. It will show a tenant that you are in fact serious in pursuing action. The quit notice can be delivered to a tenant in person as soon as the payment of rent is overdue. 

The notice has to clearly relay your intent in evicting a delinquent tenant, the amount of what is owed to you as rent including the late fees that apply, as well as the deadline for paying the amount due in full. It is advised to have a lawyer or an attorney specializing in rental disputes in UAE advise you on the matter. A property attorney in UAE can also review the quit notice to ensure that it contains all the necessary information. Authorities have specific requirements as to how, where, and when eviction notices are to be given. When a rental dispute in UAE is sent to court, a landlord may have to provide evidence that he or she made an effort in good faith to ensure that a tenant receives the notices. Talk to a property lawyer in the UAE to make sure you are fully compliant with all applicable regulations. 

In general, you may be able to post eviction notices on doors of properties or deliver them to tenants in person. Mail them as well for back up measure. After this, you’d have to be patient for a specific period of time in which you are allowed in filing eviction papers. 

Take legal action

If everything fails and a delinquent tenant still does not pay what is due, then reach out again to your property lawyer. as soon as the quit waiting period is over, you should file a landlord-tenant complaint with the competent court. Remember that the process can take several weeks or months. 

You will also have to complete the paperwork prior to getting a date for the hearing. Prepare with your attorney all the details that you will present and what you are going to say. If possible, the evidence should all be documented. 

For legal advice on your specific situation, reach out to HHS Lawyers’ team of seasoned lawyers and legal consultants in UAE!

M. Al Khairy, LL.B. is a Senior Partner of HHS Lawyers in UAE. Practicing law for almost a decade, he has in-depth knowledge on UAE legislation with particular expertise on legal drafting, contract drafting, labor disputes, family law, and regulatory compliance for business organizations. Al Khairy also provides counsel on legal rights and obligations in the UAE to clients, including individuals and businesses subject to investigation or prosecution under Criminal Law by major regulators. Read more