Resolving Rental Disputes in the UAE

Rental disputes in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are not uncommon, given the dynamic and rapidly growing real estate market in the region. According to Statista’s report, the residential real estate lease market in the UAE has shown steady growth in recent years. This growth is attributed to the increasing population and a shift in customer preferences towards high-quality housing, particularly modern and luxurious properties. As indicated in a report by a UAE news agency Al Arabiya, Dubai is currently experiencing an escalation in property prices, coupled with resulting rental hikes and unauthorized evictions, leading to a surge in legal disputes between landlords and tenants within the emirate’s courts. In 2022, Dubai alone recorded a substantial number of rental lawsuits, reaching a total of 103,975 cases. Getting the right knowledge and guidance on real estate laws will help tenants and landlords in avoiding or resolving conflicts.

Legal Framework

The UAE has implemented a thorough legal framework to handle rental disputes, with Abu Dhabi regulated by Law No. 20 of 2006 concerning lessors and lessees’ relationships. Meanwhile, Dubai falls under the governance of Federal Law No. 26 of 2007.  It is important to regularly check and stay informed about the latest developments in real estate laws applicable to the specific emirate where your property is located.  In the event of rental disputes, either the landlord or tenant can seek resolution through the Rent Dispute Centers (RDCs) situated in the respective location of the property:

Common Rental Disputes

Rental disputes in the UAE stem from various factors, showcasing the complexities in the landlord-tenant relationship. Interpretation issues within lease agreements often spark disagreements, accompanied by challenges related to rent increases, maintenance responsibilities, security deposit refunds, and eviction. Taking preemptive measures to avert conflicts can save both parties from the time-consuming and emotionally strenuous process of dispute resolution. The most important measure to avoid disputes is to have a well-drafted and comprehensive rental agreement. Clearly outline terms, conditions, and expectations to minimize ambiguity and potential misinterpretations. This upfront clarity can significantly reduce the likelihood of disputes arising from differing understandings. However, should conflicts arise despite these precautions, recourse to the resolution mechanisms outlined below becomes essential.

Dispute Resolution Mechanisms

In the UAE, resolving rental disputes typically involves multiple stages. Initial efforts should be made for amicable settlement through direct negotiations between the tenant and the landlord. If this proves unsuccessful, the parties can escalate the matter to the relevant Rental Dispute Center (RDC) in the emirate where the property is located. The RDC is an integrated judicial system focused on establishing a secure real estate environment in the Emirates. Here’s a guide on how to effectively tackle rental disputes in the Emirates:

  1. Know Your Lease Inside Out

Although the UAE has a unified tenancy contract, contracting parties are free to add their own contractual clauses or attach an addendum to the standard contract. Both landlords and tenants should ensure that lease agreements are well crafted and mutually understood. Before diving into dispute resolution, thoroughly review your lease agreement. Understand the terms, conditions, and responsibilities outlined for both parties.

  1. Open Communication Channels

Communication is key to resolving any dispute. Initiate an open and honest conversation with the other party to discuss the issue at hand. Clarify any misunderstandings, and be ready to compromise where possible.

  1. Document Everything

Keep a detailed record of all relevant communication, including emails, text messages, and any written notices. This can serve as valuable evidence in case the dispute escalates and legal intervention becomes necessary.

  1. Consult with Mediation Services

The UAE offers mediation services through various channels, at the Rental Dispute Centers in each emirate. Mediation provides a neutral ground where both parties can express their concerns and work towards a mutually acceptable solution. Mediators facilitate the discussion, helping to find common ground. If legal action becomes necessary, adhere to the procedures outlined by the Rental Dispute Center. This may involve submitting formal complaints, attending hearings, and complying with any orders issued by the RDC. Adhering to the prescribed process is crucial for a fair and efficient resolution.

  1. Seek Legal Advice

If mediation proves unsuccessful, familiarize yourself with the legal options available. If you are unfamiliar with the legal processes, consider seeking professional legal advice. Consult with a lawyer specializing in real estate and rental disputes in the UAE. They can provide guidance on the best course of action and help you navigate the legal intricacies. Prepare all necessary documents and evidence to support your case.


Remember, dealing with rental disputes requires patience, time, and a willingness to engage in open dialogue. Staying informed about UAE real estate laws is necessary for maintaining a harmonious landlord-tenant relationship and avoiding potential legal issues. Consulting with legal experts ensures that all contractual aspects are in line with the law, providing a solid foundation for a smooth and secure property leasing experience. At Strohal Legal Group, we are dedicated to providing comprehensive legal services tailored to meet your real estate needs. Whether you are buying, selling, investing, or facing legal challenges in the real estate industry, our team of experienced lawyers is here to guide you every step of the way.

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