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Sharing UAE apartment without permit: What law says


DUBAI – With many tenants defaulting on their rental payments due to unemployment or salary cuts amid the coronavirus pandemic, many are asking about the parties’ legal rights regarding the issue.

Here’s all you need to know.

Can my landlord file a case against me for defaulting on rent payment?

If your landlord has written permission from the property owner to sublease the rented property to you as the third party and you have a signed sub-tenancy contract, then your landlord may file a complaint against you with the Rental Dispute Centre.

What if I don’t have a sub-tenancy contract?

It means your landlord is illegally subleasing the apartment and would not be in a position to register a complaint against you with the rent committee.

What else could my landlord do?

Your landlord may still file a civil case against you at the Centre of Amicable Settlement of Disputes if their claim amount is less than Dh50,000 and they can prove that they are sharing the rent and other utility charges with you.

What if I have a valid tenancy contract but can no longer pay my rent because of job loss or a pay cut?

Judge Abdulqader Musa, director of the Rental Disputes Centre, said that tenants can claim “force majeure” to end their contract early without paying a  penalty. Force majeure frees the tenant or landlord from liability or obligation during an extraordinary event or circumstance beyond the control of the parties, such as a war, epidemic or a natural catastrophe.

Judge Musa said tenants can break their rent contract early if they can prove they have been affected by “exceptional circumstances”. Job loss or pay cuts due to the coronavirus pandemic may be considered force majeure. Read more

ICA/Expat Media


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