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Can My Landlord Increase My Rent? (Dubai - 2024)

Know your rights as a tenant in Dubai! Understand lawful rent increases, RERA guidelines, and dispute resolution in our comprehensive guide.

As Dubai continues to thrive and attract expatriates from around the globe, its real estate market has witnessed a significant surge in rental prices, with increases ranging between 15%-25% across various communities in 2023.

The dramatic rise in rents has brought the issue of rent increases to the forefront, making it a topic of paramount importance for expats in 2024. With concerns mounting over how much landlords can legally raise rents, understanding the rules of Dubai's rental laws has never been more crucial.

In this blog post, we aim to demystify the legal landscape surrounding rent increases in Dubai. We'll delve into the specific laws governing this area and provide a clear breakdown of the exact rent increases allowed under current regulations. Whether you're a long-term resident or a newcomer to the city, this guide will equip you with essential knowledge to navigate the dynamic real estate market of Dubai.

The Legal Framework

The Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA), under the Dubai Land Department (DLD), plays a pivotal role in regulating real estate laws in Dubai. According to the guidelines set by RERA:

  1. Notice Period: Landlords must provide a 90-day notice before making any changes to the rent or the contract terms. This is a critical legal requirement, and any rent increase without such notice can be legally contested.

  2. Decree 43: Implemented in December 2013, Decree 43 regulates how much a landlord can increase the rent. It specifies increases based on the current rent value compared to the average rent for similar units in the same area:

    • No increase if the rent is less than 10% below the average market rate.

    • Up to 5% increase if the rent is 11-20% below the average.

    • Up to 10% increase for rents 21-30% below the average.

    • Up to 15% increase for rents 31-40% below the average.

    • A maximum of 20% increase if the rent is more than 40% below the average market rate.

  3. RERA Increase Calculator: The Rental Index Calculator tool, available on the DLD website, helps tenants and landlords determine permissible rent increases based on the average market rental rate in a specific area. It's an invaluable resource for making informed decisions.

Tenant Rights and Landlord Obligations

As a tenant in Dubai, you have specific rights that protect you from unreasonable rent increases:

  • Right to Refuse Unlawful Increases: If the landlord fails to provide the required 90-day notice or proposes an increase higher than allowed by Decree 43, you can legally refuse the increase.

  • Right to Renewal and Eviction Protection: Tenants have the right to renew their contracts (notifying the landlord 90 days before lease expiration) and to remain in the property unless evicted for a valid reason outlined by the Landlord and Tenant Law.

  • Maintenance Responsibilities: Typically, tenants handle minor repairs (up to a certain cost threshold), while landlords are responsible for major maintenance work.

When Disputes Arise

Despite these clear guidelines, disputes can still occur. If you find yourself in disagreement with your landlord over a rent increase:

  1. Negotiate: First, try to resolve the issue by discussing it with your landlord, especially if you believe the proposed increase exceeds the legal limit.

  2. File a Complaint: If negotiation fails, you have the option to file a case with the Rent Disputes Settlement Centre. This process incurs a fee (3.5% of your annual rent), but successful applicants often get awarded costs.

Staying Informed and Prepared

In a dynamic real estate market like Dubai's, staying informed is key. Regularly check the RERA rental increase calculator and stay updated on any changes in real estate laws. Remember, knowledge is your best defense against unfair rent increases.

Final Thoughts

Navigating rental laws in Dubai can seem daunting, but understanding your rights and obligations makes the process much smoother. Whether you're a new tenant or have been living in Dubai for years, being informed and prepared is crucial in dealing with rent increases. For more information, visit the official Dubai Land Department website and always consider consulting a legal expert if required.

Written by Joshua Hughes

Published on 23 January 2023

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