Breakdown on how to file a rent dispute case in Dubai


The real estate market is no doubt one of the leading sectors in Dubai but it is ever-changing and highly competitive. Aside from launches of new off-plan projects, the Emirate has seen fluctuation in prices and policies, which has allowed or seen some disputes between landlords and tenants. Given the nature of real estate and the prices, it’s only expected that disputes, that usually includes complaints related to rents or unjustified eviction notices, would arise.

If, in any case, an agreement has not been settled than this can turn into a filed dispute or complaint.

Here’s some information and a simple breakdown to understand the process in order to file a case:

When is the best time to file a complaint?

If you weren’t able to reach a settlement, then it’s advised to file an official complaint with the Rent Disputes Settlement Centre at the Dubai Land Department’s head office in Deira.

The centre looks into all cases except financial disputes, in addition to rental disputes located in the free zones (JAFZA, Tecom, DMC). The committee working at the centre will help resolve disputes between landlords and tenants.

In order to be reviewed, the tenancy contract must be registered through Ejari with the Real Estate Regulatory Agency, a government agency to regulate the real estate sector in Dubai.

What’s needed to file a complaint?

The following documents -  originals and copies - are needed when filing your rental dispute:

  • Passport and Visa
  • Emirates ID
  • Ejari certificate
  • Recent DEWA bills
  • Rental deposit slip
  • Original blue tenancy contract
  • Copies of cheques issued to landlord
  • Title Deed and Passport copy of landlord
  • Copies of any correspondence between tenant and landlord regarding the rental increase or dispute at hand
  • Any other supportive documentation

Note, if it’s a commercial property, then all documentation in relation to the business (trade licenses, etc) is required.

It’s a plus if there Arabic copies of the documents available. When all papers are ready to be submitted, head to Rent Disputes Center (RDC), where they will have a typing centre to fill out your complaint and will translate the necessary documents to file your case. The typist will also ask about the nature of the dispute so it can be formalised correctly.

How much does it cost to lodge a rental dispute?

  • The fee is 3.5% of the property’s annual rent. It must be at least AED 500 and not exceed AED 20,000.
  • Translations costs of the documents by the typing centre at the dispute committee is usually approximately AED 210.
  • Additional administration costs that is around AED 110 is also added
  • Parking and transportation costs to the venue may be associated. The entire process could take around. 1-2 hours depending on how busy the dispute centre.

Here’s an example and how it’s calculated:

3.5% of 100,000 = 3500

Translation fee = 210

Admin fee = 110

Total: AED 3820

Once that’s all done, the tenant or landlord can take it to the center and file a case.

What’s next?

During the legal process ,the Arbitration Department is the first of four departments to resolve the rental dispute within 15 days. The lawsuit will be filed if both parties were unable to reach a settlement via arbitration. The ruling is issued within 30 days and the decision made will be made final unless an appeal is made at the Department of Appeal. If that’s the case, then the annual rent value on the tenancy contract must be more than AED 100,000. After a ruling is made at the appeals stage, it cannot be reversed. The Execution Department is then responsible for enforcing the decisions and judgments taken by the centre.

What expected once the case has been filed?

RERA will provide a date and time to present the case, which might take weeks or even months to be resolved. If the committee decides that the case is not straightforward and there are insufficient documents, than the person has to come back another time

If the dispute is resolved out of court before the case date, then what happens?

Both the tenant and the landlord are no longer needed to attend the hearing to discuss the case. It is assumed that your absence equals a resolution.

Looking into moving to another house, here’s a list of available properties for rent and for sale in Dubai!

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