Legal tenant rights and responsibilities in the UAE Real estate, tenancy contracts and security deposits; laws and rights you should know

We compiled a few rental rules and rights residents have in the UAE, based on original questions asked and answered through our Ask the Law section.

The condition of the apartment 

Your landlord is required to give you the new apartment in the best possible condition. It should ideally be cleaned and freshly painted, while all existing fixtures must be repaired or replaced if neccessary. Make sure you check that this is all done before you sign on the dotted line.


Landlord cannot withhold your security deposit

The security deposit is given to the landlord to deal with deliberate damage made by the tenant, and has to be returned if no damage is found.

In case of breach of contract by tenant, parties should reach an amicable settlement on remaining period of contract while security deposit has to be returned to tenant, unless deliberate damage by tenant can be proved.

Tenant wishing to break contract prematurely

As a contract between two parties, the tenancy cannot be broken before end of term by either party without substantial compensation. However, this is something tenants should look at, during the time of writing up the contract.

Make sure you enter an exit clause (in case of unforeseen circumstances such as loss of employment) so you can break the contract with some notice or minor compensation.

If the tenancy contract has no exit clause, the tenant should ideally settle the issues amicably with the landlord. The landlord cannot keep the security deposit unless deliberate damage to property by the tenant can be proven.

New Landlord

According to Article 28 of Dubai's property law amended in 2007, transfer of ownership of the building does not affect tenancy contracts. The tenant can continue with the terms of the contract and occupy the house as per all agreed-upon rights until the date specified for contract expiry. 

Cutting off services

Under no circumstances is the landlord allowed to cut services or amenities to the tenant's rental property. In case this happens, the tenant can complain at the police station in the area and can also claim compensation for damages resulting from such cuts through the Judicial Committee created for dealing with tenancy disputes.