Procedures of the Rental Dispute Settlement Centre (RDSC)

Law No. 33 of 2008 Concerning the Interaction Between Landlords and Renters in the Emirate of Dubai governs the relationship between tenants and landlords in Dubai. Rental problems that arise are sent to the Rental Disputes Settlement Center (“RDSC”), established by Decree No. 26 of 2013, to resolve them amicably or to seek a final decision to be enforced by the RDSC.

In 2013, Rental Dispute Settlement Center (RDSC) replaced Dubai Municipality Rent Committee. Despite being a judicial committee, the last panel did not include any judges. The committee used the majority vote to make final decisions and was not subject to review.

The new judicial system (RDSC) introduced a rapid and easy adjudication process for tenancy/rental disputes. It consists of five departments: the Central Support Department, the Conciliation Department, the First Instance Department, the Appeal Department, and the Execution Department, each of which has a distinct mandate and range of responsibilities.

The Jurisdiction of RDSC

The jurisdiction of RDSC extends to:

  a) Any tenancy disputes in the Emirate of Dubai except for tenancy disputes in relation to finance lease contracts (Ijara) and long-term lease contracts; and

  b) Any rental disputes inside the free zones except if the free zones are under the jurisdiction of special judicial committees or courts, such as the Dubai International Financial Centre.

Any rent-related disagreements between a landlord and a tenant that they cannot address amicably may be reported to RDSC. The Arbitration department steps in to settle the dispute amicably within 15 days to resolve it quickly and without much hassle. The parties may bring a lawsuit to the First Instance Department if the agreement is unsuccessful.

Appeal under RDSC

When a settlement is reached amicably, the parties must enter into a reconciliation agreement. If the rent claim exceeds AED 100,000, the parties may decide to appeal (One Hundred Thousand Dirhams). However, in specific unique conditions that are outlined in Article 17[1] of Law No. 26 of 2013, as listed below, such parties may be permitted to file an appeal:

  1.  Involves an eviction judgment;
  2. Is in violation of the jurisdiction rules;
  3. Involves something not requested by the parties;
  4. Is more than what the parties requested; or
  5. Disregards some of the parties’ requests;
  6. Is against a person who is not properly represented or where a notice is not properly served;
  7. Is based on forged documents discovered after the judgment or a false testimony determined after the judgment;
  8. Would have been different because a party has hidden data or documents from the First Instance Department.

The First Instance ruling is definitive and cannot be challenged without any of the abovementioned criteria. The parties have the right to submit an appeal in the Appellate Division in such circumstances when the claim amount exceeds AED 100,000 within 15 days of the judgment’s issuance. However, the appellate division’s judgment is conclusive and enforceable. The department responsible for enforcement will carry out such a judgment.

Documentation and Fees

Supporting documents required by the Centre includes:

  • Claimant’s Emirates ID or Passport or Company’s commercial license
  • Original Tenancy Agreement
  • Copies of cheques given to the landlord (if any) or Statement of Accounts
  • Notarized Power of Attorney issued by the party to its authorized representative (if any)

Rental dispute cases brought before the Centre generally involve fees of:

  • 5% of the annual rent of the leased property (no less than AED 250 but not more than AED 20,000)
  • Other fees such as: deposit of rent with RDC, expert’s fees, notice publication in the event the other party fails to show up during hearings)

The RDC is committed to improving its working mechanism that enables rental parties to determine their legal positions and guides them in the legal proceedings at various stages until the finality or resolution of rental disputes within the Emirate of Dubai. This aligns with the judicial arm’s goals of quickly, methodically, and bringing about stability concerning tenancy relationships and matters involving landlords and tenants. Make an appointment with Marwa Al Reyami Lawyers and Legal Consultants, if you have any more legal questions about Dubai’s property laws.