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Khalifa Issues Law Amending The Tenancy Law Of The Abu Dhabi Emirate

President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in his capacity as Ruler of Abu Dhabi, has issued law No. 6 of Year 2009 making amendments to the existing Law No. 20 for 2006 regarding property rent and regulation of landlord-tenant relationship in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. The new law amends articles 2, 16 and 20 of the Law No.20 for 2006. Article 1 of the Law No. 4 of Year 2009 amends the article 2 of the original law and stipulates that: The scope of the law is limited to properties, or parts of properties rented for residential, industrial, commercial, professional or vocational purposes, and to the tenancy relationship already existing or is established thereinafter. The following properties will be exempted from this law: Agricultural lands and the buildings belonging to them, Lands and properties owned by the government and that are leased for residential purposes, Lands and properties allocated to ADNOC, Properties leased for hotels and tourism purposes including furnished apartments, and Housing units at work sites. Article 2 of the new law amends articles 16 and 20 of the original law and stipulates that abiding by the rules; a landlord will not be entitled to increase the rent value more than once every year and should not be more than five percent of the existing value. A decision from the chairman of the Executive Council can increase, decrease or nullify this percentage. A tenant has the right to resort to the Tenancy Disputes Committee if a landlord increased the rent value above the specified limit. The law will apply on all existing contracts at the time of the issuance of this law when they are renewed as well as on contracts that are made with new tenants. The annual increase in the rent value will be calculated with effect from the date of the last contract or from the last date of increase, which ever is nearer. The Committee will have the jurisdiction to decrease any increase in the rent value above the specified limit and can impose penalty on the landlord without exceeding its amount the total value of the annual rent. The amendment introduced to article 20 of the Law No. 20 for 2006 stipulates that a tenancy contract will be renewed for a similar period mentioned in the original contract if any of the parties did not inform the other, in writing, of his intention to terminate the contract at its expiry. For residential properties, this announcement should be made two months prior to the expiry of the contract while in the case of other properties the written announcement should be made at least three months prior to the expiry of the contract. The new law stipulates that a landlord will not be entitled to ask the eviction of a tenant except after the expiry of four years from the first contract. A tenant has the right to renew the contract, if its validity is less than four years, for a similar period with the same conditions. The Committee can order the eviction of a tenant before the expiry of a tenancy contract, giving the tenant at least six months to move out. The committee can decide this if it is established that the tenant has caused serious damages to the landlord, and the tenant has utilised the property for more than two years. The Chairman of the Executive Council will issue bylaws and procedures for the registration of the tenancy contracts in the emirate. The decree is effective from the date of issuance and will be published in the Official Gazette.

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