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March 29, 2015
The country is currently experiencing a rise in rents across the board, on account of different issues, while numbers of disputes are also rising between and landlords and tenants. Those issues can be taken or referred to different emirates' rental committees, such as the Abu Dhabi Rent Dispute Settlement Committee whose main purpose is to handle cases arising between tenant and landlord. In a recent Gulf News article, I explained a number of legal actions that can be taken by the landlord or tenant and how Abu Dhabi rent committee handles such cases.
Law No 20/2006 makes it clear that both the landlord and tenant have the right to resolve a dispute on rent or rental increase at the Abu Dhabi Rent Dispute Settlement Committee. Article 4 of the law clearly states in a dispute about rental increase where there is no agreement, they have the right to take the issue before the committee. Amendments on this law state the maximum number of rental increases that can be imposed by a landlord is yearly.
In the article, I also explain the ruling judge in each case will look at the individual factors of each party before reaching the verdict. Unfortunately, there is no fixed number or percentage that determines the increase as being too much or within legal bounds, and what is deemed appropriate differs from case to case, as governed by Article 16 of Law No. 20/2006. The matter will be decided on the merits of the case but factors taken into account in each case include the market price, previous period of rent, and the location of the property.
Unfortunately currently there are many residents who are unaware of their rights, and in the article I emphasized the importance of law firms and lawyers' associations in increasing residents' awareness of their rights. There are a lot of conferences and articles published by various lawyers that provide good information about the law that can help, particular in tenancy matters.