Impact on Rental Disputes Between Tenants and Landlords Amid COVID-19 in UAE


Impact on Rental Disputes Between Tenants and Landlords Amid COVID-19 in UAE


The unexpected outbreak of COVID-19 globally has raised several major concerns and has resulted in the suspension or termination of various contracts including the rental agreements worldwide. The situation is nothing different in UAE; various law firms in Dubai are flooded with clients dealing with the rental disputes in this time of a global pandemic. While in most cases, the contracting parties have come into an agreement on different terms and conditions; still, some cases require further clarification in legal terms. This article sheds light on the legal possibilities and approach of the government concerning rental disputes between tenants and landlords amid COVID-19. 

The Law That Supports 

Well, the major concern to be addressed is whether the renter has the legal right to claim suspension or remission of rent under the law of UAE, taking the pandemic situation into account. Though in cases of such it is always the best to take the advice of experienced Lawyers in Dubai; one of the laws that a tenant can look into will be the UAE Federal Law no: 5 of 1985 that is regarding the UAE Civil Transactions Law; which in particular can turn out to help demand aid under the condition of COVID-19. Under Article 249 and 273 of the Civil Law, the pandemic of COVD-19 can be foreseen as a force majeure event, thus, the tenants can proceed with their claim on relief under the rental contracts. Though the court is yet to decide if coronavirus is to be regarded as a force majeure event, if the rental contracts are being terminated under Article 273, the position of the parties can be restored to the what it was before the contract or the either parties can even get compensation as per the UAE law.

What Do the Force Majeure State?

As the name suggests force majeure event with the word meaning “act of god” can be summarised to be any event which is beyond human control like a natural calamity, disaster, or a global pandemic that affects the life of the people greatly making daily life performances impossible. As per the UAE law, in case of a force majeure event, every contracting party, in general, will be released from their contracts to an extent that the contract has not yet been annihilated. In most cases as a result of the force majeure application the whole contract will be terminated by law; i.e. the application of force majeure in case of rental disputes might not result in a reduction of the rent but a direct termination of the agreement. 

The Approach of the Government and the Free Zone Authorities

Taking into account the hardship of the people and the present situation of COVID-19, the government of UAE has issued orders to suspend the case of rental disputes, lease and such temporarily.  Thus, if your rental obligations are to expire or have expired, you may forward a letter to your landlord requesting for an extension of the rental agreement for another few months with existing terms and conditions considering the pandemic of COVID-19.  In case the landlord doesn't consider your request, you are free to approach any of the best experienced rental dispute lawyers in Dubai with the case and enroll legal charges. 

It is not just the government authorities of UAE that have come forward taking steps to ease the hardship of the tenants, the free trade zone authorities also have lent their helping hand in this situation by deciding to suspend the rent payments for those within the free trade zone authority for 6 months.  

Even though several steps have been taken and different proposals have been put in place to support tenants and solve rental disputes, the majority of cases can only be sorted out entirely by individual agreement and the goodwill of the landlords. In such cases, the tenants are free to hire the best tenancy dispute lawyer as they have the right to take legal actions to get a rent reduction.

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