Since many Dubai residents are tenants, disputes over rent occasionally happen. Oftentimes, the tenant and landlord are able to resolve things by themselves. However, if they cannot settle the matter amicably, they should bring the matter to the Rental Dispute Settlement Centre (RDSC).
You will find the RDSC at the Dubai Land Department. It was established by the Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, through Decree No. 26 for 2013. Prior to this, rental issues used to be settled by the Dubai Municipality Rent Committee.
Guide to Settling Rental Disputes in Dubai
The RDSC is the main agency tasked by the Dubai Government to help settle rental disputes quickly and systematically. Their work does not include cases that have already been assigned to a special judicial court. Likewise, the centre does not look into cases related to long-term lease or financial lease contracts, which fall under Law No. 7 of 2006 for real estate registration.
The RDSC consists of four departments, namely: Arbitration and Reconciliation Department, Department of First Instance, Department of Appeal, and Law Enforcement Department. Each department serves a specific purpose for resolving a case, as follows:
- First, the Arbitration and Reconciliation Department will try to settle the rental dispute amicably within 15 days.
- If not successful, the case moves up to the Department of First Instance. The complainant must file a lawsuit, which the department will try to resolve — issuing a final ruling within 30 days.
- If the parties involved are not satisfied with the ruling, they may forward the case to the Department of Appeal.
Important Documents and Fees
The following documents are often required by the RDSC in resolving a rental dispute case:
- Name of plaintiff (complainant) with designation (i.e. landlord, tenant, lessor, or lessee)
- Current address of plaintiff
- Original tenancy contract
- Facts about the rental dispute
- Notarized Power of Attorney (PoA) indicating person authorized to represent the plaintiff
- Copies of cheques given to the landlord (if any)
NOTE: If the plaintiff is a tenant, but the landlord refuses to provide the original tenancy contract — the plaintiff may fax a request to the landlord and submit the fax receipt to RDSC instead.
Meanwhile, rental disputes generally involve the following fees:
- Plaintiff to pay 3.5% of the annual rent (minimum of AED 250, maximum of AED 20,000)
- Payment of other fees, e.g. deposit of rent with RDSC, summoning of experts, expert’s fee, etc.
- Payment for a newspaper ad or notice (in case the defendant fails to show up during committee hearings)
For more information about settling rental disputes, you may contact:
Dubai Land Department
Phone: 800 4488
Office hours: 7:30am to 2:30pm (by appointment only: 4:30pm onwards)
Resolving a rental dispute can be a stressful experience for everyone involved, regardless of whether you’re a landlord or tenant. Fortunately, here in Dubai, we have the Rental Dispute Settlement Centre or RDSC to take care of such matters!