REALWorld Law

Commercial leases

Early termination

Can a lessee be forced to leave prior to the date originally agreed and, if so, how long will this process take?

United Arab Emirates - Abu Dhabi

United Arab Emirates - Abu Dhabi

Within Abu Dhabi and outside the Abu Dhabi Global Market free zone

Under Article 23 of Abu Dhabi Law No 20 of 2006 concerning the Letting of Property and Regulation of the Letting Relationship between Lessors and Lessees, the lessor may ask the lessee to vacate the premises only for the following reasons:

  • If the lessee fails to pay the rent due within the periods fixed in Article 11 (a period not exceeding 21 days from the due date agreed in writing if the property is let for residential purposes unless otherwise agreed or 30 days from the due date agreed in writing if the premises is let for commercial, industrial or vocational purpose) against a receipt indicating payment unless otherwise agreed.
  • If the lessee assigns or sublets all or some of the premises except with the permission or authorization of the lessor.
  • If the lessee or the sublessee allows more than the generally accepted level of occupancy.
  • If the lessee uses or permits the premises to be used in a manner contrary to the tenancy contract conditions or which impairs the lessor’s interest or uses the premises for other purposes than those for which it is let.
  • If the lessee uses or permits the premises to be used in a way that is detrimental to health, or constitutes a disturbance or is contrary to public order or manners.
  • If the lessor wishes to demolish the premises for rebuilding, an increase in height, additions or alterations (subject to a number of conditions).
  • If the lessor wishes to occupy the premises for his own purposes (provided that he does not own another habitable property within the jurisdiction of the municipality in which the premises are located subject to:
    • Serving the lessee a notice six months prior to the expiration of the tenancy contract, and
    • The lessor occupying the premises for one uninterrupted year after they are vacated by the lessee. If the lessor fails to reoccupy the premises without acceptable reasons within three months from the vacation date or occupies the premises for less than one year or lets the premises to another lessee, the original lessee can obtain an order allowing him to re-occupy and/or be paid compensation. The Rental Disputes Resolution Committee (RDRC) may determine the appropriate compensation, provided that it does not exceed one year’s rental.

In all cases, the RDRC may give the lessee a suitable respite before he must vacate, provided that it does not exceed six months.

There are no guidelines as to how long the process would take.

Within the Abu Dhabi Global Market free zone

In the Abu Dhabi Global Market free zone, there are no regulations setting out grounds for termination, which means the parties are free to contract as they wish.