Who is responsible for apartment maintenance in Dubai: Owners or Tenants?

In recent years, the Dubai real estate market has been booming, attracting more and more investors.

Many properties have already been bought, sold and leased in the first quarter of 2023, despite global economic inflation. When it comes to renting, one of the main questions is who is responsible for maintaining the apartment.

Is it the owners or the tenants? Read this article to find out.

What are owners' responsibilities?

The first quarter of 2023 in Dubai was characterized by a significant increase in sales costs.

Figures from the Dubai Land Department (DLD) reveal that transactions during the quarter totalled over 88.7 billion Dirhams (AED). This represents an increase of 60.5% over the same period last year.

Although the increase is not as spectacular as in the fourth quarter of 2022, it is still significant at 9.4%. This growth was mainly driven by the new housing market, which recorded an 85.3% increase in new home sales.

The number of housing units rose by 42%. These figures demonstrate the importance of the new-build market in the overall growth of Dubai’s real estate market.

What are the tenant's responsibilities?

Under Dubai law, the landlord is responsible for maintenance and repairs to the rented apartment.

Indeed, article 16 or the 2007 Dubai Tenancy Law states that: “unless otherwise agreed between the parties, the landlord shall, during the term of the tenancy agreement, be responsible for the maintenance of the property and the repair of any breakdown or defect which affects the intended and full use of the property by the tenant”.

In addition, the landlord may be held responsible for resolving any breakdowns, damage or defects affecting the apartment that are beyond the tenant’s control.
This refers to article 17 of the Dubai Tenancy Law, which states that: the owner may not make any alteration to the property or its fixtures or fittings which prevents the intended use thereof.

The owner is responsible for all such modifications, whether carried out by himself or by any other person authorized by him. Also, the lessor is liable for any breakdown, alteration, defect or damage to the property for any cause not attributable to the lessee’s fault.

So, if you’re a rental property owner in Dubai, it’s your responsibility to carry out all maintenance and repair work on your property.

However, it should be noted that if it is agreed in the rental contract that certain repairs and maintenance work will be undertaken by the tenant, then you are under no obligation to insure these.

What about maintenance problems caused by tenant negligence?

It’s true that the landlord is responsible for all maintenance and repairs to the apartment. However, it would be unfair and illegal for the latter to have to pay for repairs to damage caused by the tenant’s fault.

The renter is responsible for any damage, whether intentional or not, to the property or equipment, with the exception of normal wear and tear. Thus, the tenant is obliged to replace any item that has been broken or damaged.

He is also responsible for painting and cleaning the property at the end of the lease.
For example, it is not the landlord’s responsibility to repair a broken window caused by the tenant.

Similarly, any damage caused to cupboards as a result of a leak that has not been reported will be charged to the tenant.

What are the conflicts concerning maintenance problems?

Despite the rights and responsibilities that have been clearly defined in the articles, it is not uncommon for disputes to arise between Dubai landlords and tenants.

For example, an owner or tenant may refuse to assume responsibility for property maintenance costs.

In reality, these conflicts often arise when clauses relating to maintenance responsibility have not been mentioned in the lease contract. In these conditions, the best solution is to turn to the leasing committee for dispute resolution.

After examining the situation, the committee will make the appropriate judgement to be followed by the landlord and tenant.

What can be done to avoid property maintenance disputes in Dubai?

To reduce property maintenance conflicts, it’s important to spell out the details of the rental agreement.

It must include all clauses relating to the maintenance of the rented apartment. Both the tenant and the owner must undertake to be aware of their respective responsibilities.

If you own a rental property in Dubai, we recommend that you contact a property management company. The latter will take care of all problems related to the upkeep of your property.

Our real estate agency in Dubai is here to support you in your rental management, so don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.