New rental contract system to speed up dispute redressal in Abu Dhabi

New rental contract system to speed up dispute redressal in Abu Dhabi

Lease agreements are now executory instruments, enabling landlords to approach the Enforcement Department directly to claim arrears

Abu Dhabi: Tenancy contracts registered with the Abu Dhabi Municipality will have the status of executory instruments, enabling landlords to approach the Enforcement Department directly to claim arrears, evacuation and handover of the leased property, in case tenants fail to pay.

The move comes in line with the decision by Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD), on Rental Dispute Settlement Committees and the procedures undertaken before the same.

Yousuf Saeed Al Abri, ADJD’s Under-Secretary, said the decision will speed up dispute resolution in property cases. “This initiative, the first of its kind in the region, supports efforts to create an attractive environment for real estate investment in Abu Dhabi, by enhancing the confidence of real estate owners and tenants with an efficient litigation mechanism that ensures simplification of procedures and speedy settlement of disputes,” Al Abri added.

“Considered executory instruments, these lease contracts registered with the competent department at the Abu Dhabi Municipality, guarantee promptness in reverting the rights to their due owners and saves a lot of time and effort,” Al Abri pointed out.

This measure is likely to shorten the proceedings in the courts of first instance and appeal, to reduce the number of rental disputes and to regulate the rental system in the emirate. Registered contracts with the status of executory instruments shall allow the settlement within a period of time from two days to three weeks maximum, and encourage litigants to have recourse to this mechanism. This will also increase confidence in the rental system to allow payment of the rights directly at the enforcement stage without passing through other stages of the proceedings.

The official explained that under the new system, a copy of the registered lease contract must be attached while registering a case. This is likely to encourage all parties to abide by the registration process and not to resort to contravening housing units, in order ensure the security of the community.

The decision allows an interim order to be submitted before the summary matters judge in the Rental Dispute Settlement Committees, in case of claiming the value of water or electricity consumption or refunding the guarantee deposit amount after the expiry of the lease period. A payment order will be issued on the basis of a petition submitted by the lessor or the lessee, and the same is appealable within 15 days.

In case of sub-lease, or if the property is subject to any damage or if there are changes in the property itself or in the nature of the commercial activity, the decision also permits a landlord, before the filing of the case, to revert directly to the competent judge at the Rental Committee, to inspect the leased property by an expert and verify its condition. The order shall be issued on the day following the submission of the petition at the latest. The inspection order may not be subject to appeal.

The decision will come into force two weeks after the date of issuance, September 27.