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How to File Cases Against Non-compliant Tenants: A Step-by-Step Guide

As a property owner or manager in Dubai, dealing with non-compliant tenants can be challenging and stressful. Whether it’s due to unpaid rent, property damage, or other breaches of the lease agreement, knowing how to file cases against tenants effectively is crucial. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the entire process, ensuring you understand your rights, the necessary steps, and the legal intricacies of protecting your investment.

The tenancy agreement, a legally binding document, plays a crucial role in maintaining a harmonious landlord-tenant relationship. Understanding and adhering to its terms is essential to avoid disputes.

Non-compliance refers to any violation of the terms outlined in the tenancy agreement. Common issues include:

  • Non-payment of rent
  • Damage to property
  • Illegal activities on the premises
  • Violation of community rules and regulations

It’s crucial for landlords to be aware that according to the Dubai Land Department (DLD), over 20% of rental disputes involve non-payment of rent, making it the most prevalent issue they face. This underscores the importance of addressing this issue proactively.

Review the Tenancy Agreement

Before taking any legal action, thoroughly review the tenancy agreement to ensure the tenant is in clear violation of the terms. This document is your primary evidence and should detail all the agreed-upon conditions and responsibilities.

Communicate with the Tenant

Attempt to resolve the issue amicably by communicating with the tenant. Send formal notices via registered mail or email, documenting all correspondences. In many cases, a simple reminder or warning can resolve the issue without escalating it to legal action.

Issue a Notice of Eviction

If communication fails, the next step is to issue a formal notice of eviction. According to Dubai’s Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA), a 30-day notice is required for most violations, including non-payment of rent . Ensure the notice is delivered in writing and retains proof of delivery.

If the tenant remains non-compliant, you can file a complaint with the RDSC. This requires the following documents:

  • Copy of the tenancy agreement
  • Copies of all communication with the tenant
  • Proof of non-compliance (e.g., unpaid rent receipts, photographs of property damage)
  • Copy of the eviction notice

The RDSC handles all rental disputes in Dubai and provides a structured process for resolving such issues.

Pay the Filing Fee

Filing a complaint requires a fee, which is typically 3.5% of the annual rent amount, with a minimum of AED 500 and a maximum of AED 20,000 . Ensure you keep all receipts and proof of payment for your records.

Attend the Hearing

Once your case is filed, the RDSC will schedule a hearing. Both parties will be required to attend. During the hearing, present all evidence clearly and concisely. The RDSC aims to resolve cases within a few weeks, but complex disputes may take longer.

Await the Judgment

After the hearing, the RDSC will issue a judgment. If the decision is in your favor, the tenant may be ordered to pay the outstanding rent, vacate the property, or cover any damages. If the tenant fails to comply with the judgment, you may need to seek enforcement through Dubai Courts.

Enforcing the Judgment

If necessary, file an execution case with Dubai Courts to enforce the RDSC’s judgment. This process involves additional fees and may require the assistance of a legal professional to navigate the complexities of enforcement.

Filing cases against non-compliant tenants involves both legal and financial considerations. Legal fees, court costs, and the time spent on the process can add up. However, these steps are necessary to protect your property and financial interests.

Legal Fees and Costs

Hiring a lawyer can range from AED 1,500 to AED 5,000 per hour, depending on the complexity of the case and the lawyer’s experience . Additionally, court fees and other related expenses can significantly impact your budget.

Financial Impact

Non-payment of rent can severely affect your cash flow. It’s estimated that landlords lose an average of AED 30,000 annually due to non-compliant tenants . Taking prompt legal action helps mitigate these losses and ensures your property is occupied by reliable tenants.

Dealing with non-compliant tenants can be daunting, but understanding the legal process in Dubai can help you take swift and effective action. By following this step-by-step guide, you can navigate the complexities of filing cases against tenants, protect your investment, and maintain a profitable property portfolio.