Question. I have just been fired from my Dubai-based company as part of a cost-cutting strategy. I wish to go back home instead of staying in the UAE and looking for another job. I reside with my family at an apartment in Sharjah and my rental contract is valid until March 2019. I told my real estate agency that I had been fired and needed to leave the country at the earliest. However, he has informed me that since I would be violating the tenancy agreement, I would need to pay two months’ rent as a penalty. Is this legal? It’s not as if I am leaving the flat for a better one, I have been fired and need to save up as much as possible before I leave. Please advice.
Pursuant to your queries, it may be noted that as per Article 22 of the Executive Regulation of Law No (2) of 2007 on Regulation of Landlord-Tenant Relationship in Sharjah, the tenants cannot terminate the lease agreement except for force majeure (beyond your control) event and are legally obligated to continue the lease until the expiry of the lease term.
In the event of an early termination due to force majeure, the tenants are obligated to compensate the landlord for an amount not less than 30 per cent of rental of the remaining period of the lease contract, unless otherwise agreed by parties.
Further, all disputes are to be addressed to the Sharjah Rental Dispute Committee (RDC) and the decision given by the RDC shall be final and binding on both the parties in cases where the judgement value is Dh100,000 except for claims under Article 24 of the said law. Applicable sub-provision under the Article 22 (2) of the aforesaid law are stated as below:
“Without prejudice to Article 12 of the Law Number (2) of 2007: (2) the committee, may if it is content with such force majeure events, terminate the contract by obligating the tenant to pay compensation to the landlord in an amount not less than 30 per cent of rental of the remaining period of the lease contract, unless otherwise agreed by parties.”
Based on the aforementioned provision of law termination of your employment may be considered as a force majeure event as this event is beyond your control. Therefore you may have to only compensate your landlord with 30 per cent of the rent for the remaining period of the rental agreement. It is recommended that you approach the Rental Dispute Committee based in Sharjah Municipality and seek further clarifications.
Know the law:
In case of a force majeure (beyond your control) event, a tenant is obligated to compensate the landlord for an amount not less than 30 per cent of rental of the remaining period of the lease contract, unless otherwise agreed by parties.
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.
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