Legally speaking: Dubai couple who paid full year’s rent to fake landlord faces eviction

A Dubai-based couple reached out with a question on facing eviction after paying a full year’s rent to a fake landlord. Legal expert Barney Almazar of Gulf Law explains the legalities.

Reader asks: My husband and I are renting a room in a villa in Dubai. We signed a contract for one year with a Russian man who represented himself as the landlord. We paid the rental in full since he offered a big discount for advance payment. Four days after we received the lease contract, an Emirati arrived at the villa claiming that he is the real owner.

It turns out, the Russian man was just leasing the villa from the Emirati owner. There is a condition in their lease contract that only one family should occupy the villa. When the Emirati owner found out that our landlord has placed partitions in the villa, he immediately filed a complaint against the Russian. We are now being asked to vacate the villa. Can the Emirati owner terminate the lease contract and evict us even if we paid the one year rent to our Russian landlord?

Atty. Barney answers: Yes, as owner and landlord of the villa, the Emirati can terminate the lease contract and subsequently have the Russian tenant and his sub-lessees evicted from the villa as the lease contract between the owner and the tenant prohibits subletting.

Under the Real Estate Regulatory Authority rules, the landlord or lessor may demand eviction of the tenant or lessee prior to expiry of tenancy period if the tenant subleases the premises, or any part thereof, without the lessor’s written approval. In such cases, the lessor can request the eviction of both lessee and sub-lessee.

In your case, it is clear that the original lessee subleased the villa without the lessor’s consent. As such, the lessor is allowed under the law to evict both the lessee and you, being his sub-lessee. You should file a collection case against your Russian landlord for the refund of your unused rent and payment of damages.

Atty. Barney Almazar is a director at Gulf Law in the UAE, Philippines, UK and Portugal. He is a member of the Philippine Bar and holds a UAE legal consultancy license. He is listed by Thomsom Reuters as one of the Super 50 lawyers in the Middle East and North Africa. Asian Legal Business has ranked him as top lawyer in the Philippines, Southeast Asia and Middle East., +971558650248

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