How to File a Rental Dispute in Dubai

Dubai has been a land of opportunities for people from across the globe. You will find people of different nationalities and cultures. Hence, it is a very difficult time finding a perfect home for them. Most common among expatriates is rental based housing. In fact, the majority of the foreign working class lives on a rental basis. Due to such huge numbers of rental housing, it is not unusual to witness a dispute between tenants and landowners in Dubai. Even after having signed agreements, either of the parties to contract might deviate from the agreed terms, which leads to the dispute. Therefore, it is always recommendable to be aware of the local laws and dispute resolution mechanism here in Dubai.

If ever you have a rental dispute in Dubai, it is always best to get it resolved amicably, without getting the authorities involved. However, if that does not work, you always have the option to legally resolve your issues by approaching the relevant authorities. Here we bring everything you need to know about registering a rental dispute case in Dubai.

Relevant Authority

The Rental Dispute Settlement Centre (RDSC) is the agency which is authorised to handle the disputes related to rental agreements. The RDSC came into existence in accordance with a decree by the Ruler of Dubai, His Highness, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. It is situated in the building of the Dubai Land Department in Deira. In short, the RDSC is the legal arm of the Dubai Land Department concerning rental disputes. The RDSC aims to resolve rental disputes quickly, accurately and with optimum transparency.

Sections of the RDSC

The Rental Dispute Settlement Centre has four judicial departments – Reconciliation Department, First Instance Department, Appeal Department and Execution Department.

1. Reconciliation Department

The reconciliation department acts like an arbitration committee. The department tries to resolve the dispute between the parties amicably. This process takes not more than 15 days, but can be extended exceptionally. If the matter is settled, an agreement is signed by both parties under the supervision of the Arbitrator. This agreement shall be treated as an execution deed. Otherwise, the matter shall be transferred to the First Instance Department.

2. First Instance Department

When the dispute is transferred to the First Instance Department, it goes through a number of internal committees. These committees check the validity of jurisdiction and other such formalities for dispute redressals. As soon as the formalities are complete, the dispute is discussed and judgements are made by the expert judges of these committees. If the parties are not content with the department’s decision, then an appeal can be found against the decision in the Appeal Department

3. Appeal Department

If the parties to a dispute are not satisfied with the decision made by the First Instance Department, they have an option to file an appeal against it with the Appeal Department, within 15 days from the decision. The chairman of the committee of the Appeal Department decides on such matters and the decision made by this department shall be binding on the parties.

4. Execution Department

All the decisions made by the Appeal Department and those decisions made by the First Instance Department which are not challenged in the Appeal Department shall be executed by the Execution Department. The proceedings for execution shall start within 15 days from the date of judgements and be completed accordingly.

Required Documents

Following documents are required for registering a case with the RDSC:

  • Identity proof of the tenant and landlord recognised by the Emirate
  • Passport and visa of the tenant
  • Original rent agreement
  • Rental Deposit receipt

Note:- If your landlord avoids giving you the original rental agreement, you can send him a letter requesting to provide the same and you can submit the receipt of the letter to the authorities.

Procedure & Fees

If you happen to have a conflict with your landlord, and if the same could be resolved amicably, you can simply visit the RDSC in the Dubai Land Department building along with the relevant documents. After that, you just need to follow the instructions and your case will be registered. Please make sure that if the required documents are in English, they are duly translated in Arabic. This can be done at the RDSC centre itself and it shall cost you somewhere between 200AED to 300AED.

For registering a complaint, you will have to pay a fixed amount as fees which shall be equivalent to 3.5% of your annual rent payable. However, if the judgment comes in your favour, this amount can be recovered from the landlord.

Few important things to remember

Please find a property for rent through a reputed real estate agency. It might be more costly, but you can avoid any future conflicts with your landlord this way. Also, please read the agreement carefully and understand all the difficult terms before signing the document.

As much as possible, try to resolve the dispute amicably as it will save your time, energy and money. Though the RDSC is a very efficient judicial institution, the procedural implications can be frustrating at times. It is highly recommendable that you hire a legal counsel to represent you in your dispute before the RDSC, especially if you are new to the UAE. It might be a bit expensive but will help you a great deal.


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