Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Rental Disputes Committee warns landlords against change residential buildings to hotel apartments

A senior official in the Abu Dhabi Rental Disputes Resolution Committee has clarified that Landlords cannot evict tenants for the sole purpose of change of business, from residential buildings to hotel apartments.

The Chairman of the Resolution Committee, Mohammad Rashid Al Hameli, said "Changing business from residential building to hotel apartments is not a legal ground to evict tenants".

Al Hameli mentioned that legally landlords do not own the right to evict tenants, unless in specific cases, such as approved demolishing for personal use, or for tenants failure to pay the rent, or subletting the property without the approval from landlord or for violating public norms.

In case of demolishing the building, the tenant should be informed about it six months in advance, and in case it is found that the landlord has not been living in the property after evicting the tenants under the pretext of personal use, or if the property has been re-rented to another party, the tenant can place a complaint before the committee, said Al Hameli.

Al Hameli also clarified that tenants should not obey any eviction orders by the landlords or other authorities, unless the eviction order has been approved by the Rental Disputes Resolution Committee. Speaking on eviction notices, Al Hameli advised that tenants have the right to receive notices but should sign clearly that although they are in receipt of the notice, the eviction order was rejected. At the end of tenancy contract, the tenants can then submit a complaint to the committee and deposit the rent or any installment pertaining to the building, as per the terms of contract in cash, so that it could be renewed.

It has been found that off-late, there is an increasing tendency for landlords to give away the building to hotel operators on a yearly lump sum rental basis so as to convert the building to hotel apartments.

Tenants have requested the Rental Dispute Resolution Committee to issue clear guidelines for tenants to understand their rights, particularly the circumstances under which they could be evicted from the building.

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