Question: I stay in a studio flat in Dubai. However, due to a pay cut, I am unable to afford the rent. What are the laws on apartment sharing in Dubai? Is it legal for me to have a roommate in my apartment? I see plenty of advertisements online for room sharing. Are they legal?
Answer: Pursuant to your queries, as you are residing in a studio apartment based in the emirate of Dubai, the provisions of Law No. 26 of 2007 Regulating the Relationship Between Landlords and Tenants in the Emirate of Dubai (the Dubai Rental Law) and the provisions of Law No. 33 of 2008 Amending Law No. 26 of 2007 Regulating the Relationship between Landlords and Tenants in the Emirate of Dubai (the Amended Dubai Rental Law) are applicable.
It should be noted that it in Dubai, sharing a rented apartment without obtaining the landlord's approval is illegal. This is in accordance with Article 24 Dubai Rental Law which states: "Unless otherwise agreed in the tenancy contract, the tenant shall not assign benefit or sublease premises without obtaining the landlord's approval."
Further, in Dubai, if any tenant who sub-lets the rented apartment may be evicted along with the sub-tenants. This is in accordance with Article 25 (1) (b) of the Amended Dubai Rental Law, which states: "The Landlord may seek eviction of the Tenant from the Real Property prior to the expiry of the term of the Tenancy only where the Tenant sub-lets the Real Property or any part thereof without obtaining the Landlord's approval in writing. In this case, the eviction will apply to both the Tenant and Sub-Tenant. However, the Sub-Tenant's right to claim a compensation from the Tenant will be preserved.”
Based on the aforementioned provisions of law, if you intend to sub-let the apartment you should obtain the consent of your landlord.
Further, it should be noted that it is not legal for anyone to post advertisements online or anywhere else related to availability of sharing rented apartments in the emirate of Dubai, without the prior approval of the relevant authorities. The individuals who post such advertisements may be penalized by the Dubai Municipality.
However, in certain designated areas, bachelors and single women may share the same accommodation if approved by the Dubai Municipality. The number of sub-tenants or tenants who can share an apartment depends on the area where it is located.
Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and India. Full details of his firm on: www.amalawyers.com. Readers may e-mail their questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.