Tenant Law in Abu Dhabi: All You Need To Know

Abu Dhabi tenancy law
The Abu Dhabi property market has risen to the top of the area in recent years, thanks to fast expansion. When it comes to renting a home to live in Abu Dhabi, the populace is spoiled for choice. There’s something for everyone: villas or apartments, high-end or mid-market, islands or mainland. So what exactly does becoming a renter in Abu Dhabi entail? If you live in the capital, here’s all you need to know about Abu Dhabi tenant rights and tenancy legislation.



2006Abu Dhabi Law No. 20Law Concerning leases and relationship between landlords and tenants introduced
2010Abu Dhabi Law No. 4Landlords now have legal authority to order renters to leave – a 5% rent ceiling is in place, with no notice period necessary.
2011Abu Dhabi Executive CouncilEstablished tenancy contract registration rules and processes
2012Administrative Resolution No 12 & 13Residential unit occupancy regulations
2012Abu Dhabi Executive mandatory two month’s notice periodThe 5% rent ceiling has been reinstated, with a necessary two-month notice period.
2016Abu Dhabi Council ResolutionRenters must pay a 3% housing charge to the municipality.
2016Abu Dhabi Executive Council No. 32The 5% rent restriction has been reintroduced.
2017Tenancy Law Amendment of November 20 2017Regulations for rental disputes

Law No. 20 of 2006 established the tenancy legislation governing Abu Dhabi tenancy contracts, which has since been amended to suit changing market conditions. Authorities have considered both landlord and tenant rights to guarantee that both parties’ interests are respected under Abu Dhabi’s tenancy legislation. Law No. 20 of 2006 was also enacted to govern concerns such as rental rates and eviction rules. Prior to later revisions, landlords could not remove residents once the lease contract expired. A number of revisions have occurred since the initial Abu Dhabi Tenancy Law to reflect diverse variables, bringing the tenancy legislation in Abu Dhabi to where it is now.


These are some general rules to assist you understand Abu Dhabi tenant rights.


According to Abu Dhabi Executive Council No. 4 of 2011, landlords must register properties and effective tenancy contracts with the Abu Dhabi Municipality (ADM). Tawtheeq is a system used by ADM to keep track of tenancy contracts and data pertaining to the property being rented. To be recognized in the Tawtheeq register, the Abu Dhabi tenancy contract registration must be in both English and Arabic, or just in Arabic.

The subsequent Administrative Decision No. 97 of 2012 simplified the registration of lease contracts even further. The resolution directs ADM to create a record of the Abu Dhabi tenancy contract registration, which must include property data (residential, commercial, or industrial units), as well as landlord and tenant information.

All landlords in Abu Dhabi are required by law to register their properties and subsequent tenancy contracts with ADM. While renting in Abu Dhabi, tenants should always request to examine the property registration certificate.


The Abu Dhabi Tenancy Law was amended for the first time in 2010 with Abu Dhabi Law No. 4. The law limited yearly rental price rises to 5%, which meant tenants may face a 5% rent hike upon lease renewal.

The Abu Dhabi Executive Council passed Law No. 32 in 2012, removing the rental price cap and allowing landlords to adjust property prices in line with market rates. Nonetheless, the order compelled landlords to provide tenants two months’ notice of the price change.

By Resolution No. 14 of 2016, the Abu Dhabi Council reintroduced the 5% rental cap on the lease agreement as of December 13, 2016. Landlords and tenants can agree on a rental amount and sign a lease. The landlord may raise the rent on a yearly basis within the price range established by this decision.

Nowadays, Abu Dhabi rules indicate that leased properties in Abu Dhabi are subject to a 5% rental cap. Landlords and property management companies can raise annual rent within this limit if tenants are notified at least two months before contract renewal.

Hence, whether you live in a premium location and rent Saadiyat Beach villas or in a more cheap unit in a budget-friendly neighborhood like Mussafah flats for rent, your yearly rent rise cannot be more than 5%.

The 5% rental cap in Abu Dhabi ensures landlords and owners cannot charge the tenant above the market rate
The Abu Dhabi rental ceiling of 5% guarantees that landlords and owners cannot charge tenants more than the market rate.


Landlords have the right to remove renters when their tenancy contract ends under Law No. 4 of 2010. The Abu Dhabi rental law also permits landlords to deny the renewal of the lease contract if they so want.

“A landlord can evict the tenant by giving 60 days’ notice ahead to the end of the lease period. He or she is no longer required to provide a justification for the eviction. Similarly, if a tenant no longer desires to renew the lease, the landlord must be given 60 days’ notice that the lease will not be renewed,” said Mario Volpi, one of the UAE’s most renowned real estate specialists.

According to Abu Dhabi Executive Council Ordinance No. 32, which was amended to the Abu Dhabi rental legislation, landlords must serve an evacuation or tenant eviction notice two months before contract renewal. This notice time must be served by both parties in accordance with conventional Abu Dhabi tenant eviction process.

According to Abu Dhabi property legislation, landlords and property management organizations in the capital must provide renters two months’ notice before making any changes to the rental contract. This includes rent increases, evictions, and changes to tenancy contract terms.


Administrative Decision No. 12 of 2012 established certain occupancy rules for Abu Dhabi residential units. The following are some of the regulations that Abu Dhabi tenants must be aware of:

  • The number of residents is based on the total square footage of the apartment or villa.
  • Each passenger should have at least 14 square meters of space (excluding children and housemaids)
  • Occupants should not utilize residential unit halls and corridors as bedrooms.
    Without specific approval, landlords cannot split a residential unit to lease separately.
  • A single room in a residential property cannot have more than three persons residing in it at the same time (excluding children and housemaids)
  • A single residential unit cannot be shared by more than one family.
  • Families occupying a single residential unit are not permitted to share it with others who are not connected to the family (children and housemaids excluded)

It is critical to understand occupation rights in order to avoid breaking Abu Dhabi rules. If in doubt, consult your agent or landlord.


According to Abu Dhabi Council Resolution No. 13 of 2016, Abu Dhabi tenants must additionally pay a housing charge to Abu Dhabi Municipality. The housing charge is 3% of the annual rent and applies to all Abu Dhabi housing units. It is payable to the municipality, not the unit owners.


“One of Abu Dhabi’s most tenant-friendly verdicts is the establishment of a dispute resolution committee that hears conflicts between landlords and renters, providing tenants with a fair voice in the event of a problem.” – Mr. Mario Volpi.

The development of a Conflict Resolution Committee to handle legal issues and defend both landlord and tenant rights was announced in the Chief of Judicial Department Decision No. 10 of 2010. The Committee will consider allegations and defenses provided by the litigant, witnesses, and anybody else involved in the dispute. Hearings are often held in Arabic, with an interpreter available for individuals who do not speak the language.



  • Step 1: Arbitration and Reconciliation Departments – When one party files a complaint, the other party convenes to resolve the disagreement.
  • Step 2: First Instance Court – The court will consider allegations presented by parties in the form of a memorandum.
  • Step 3: Court of Appeal – For claims above AED 50k, an appeal can be filed here once the Court of First Instance issues a decision within 15 days.
  • Step 4: Court of Cassation – Disputes worth AED 330k or more can be filed within 30 days following the Court of Appeal’s decision.
  • Step 5: Enforcement Department – The party with the favourable verdict can use legal pressure on the opposing side to settle.

The most recent modification to the Abu Dhabi Tenancy Law, enacted on November 20, 2017, says that the judgment of the Abu Dhabi Rent Dispute Settlement Committee (RDSC) is final and binding on all parties concerned. If the value of the dispute claim exceeds AED 50,000, either party may submit an appeal within 15 days of the judgment date. Parties having claims in excess of AED 300,000 have 30 days to file an appeal with the Court of Cassation.

The regulation further says that in order to file a dispute with the Committee, the tenancy contract must be recorded in the Tawtheeq system of the Abu Dhabi Municipality.

If the landlord suffers damages as a result of the tenant’s residence, the Committee may request that the renter remove the rented property after two years. Legally, the landlord may give the renter up to six months to vacate the rented flat or villa.


  • Send the application and all relevant documentation to the RDSC customer service desk.
  • Fill out a complaint form at the customer care counter.
  • Pay the fees at the finance desk and get a receipt.
  • You will be given a date for the first case session.

Original RDSC application, Original Petition with 2 copies, Copy of Tenancy Contract, Passport Copy, Trade License (in case of a business party), and Original Power of Attorney are all essential documents (in case the principal is acting on behalf of another party)

Fees: 4% annual rent (up to AED 10,000), cost of local newspaper advertisement (if the defendant fails to show up), Other Charges (expert consultation, the fee for rent deposit with RDSC, etc.)

To register a dispute claim, call the Abu Dhabi RDSC at 800 2353. The Abu Dhabi Rent Dispute Resolution Committee is located beside the Marriage Fund on Defence Street (next the Algfah Hotel). Another branch is located within Al Ain Court in Al Ain.


The Abu Dhabi property legislation for tenants has undergone several changes throughout the years. The following are the most crucial things to remember if you are a renter in Abu Dhabi:

  • To ensure that the property is registered with the municipality, get a registration certificate.
  • Examine the tenancy contract’s terms and conditions thoroughly. Keep in mind the lease length, rental amount, maintenance, and other costs.
  • You must contact your landlord two months before contract renewal to renew, change, or terminate the contract. This is the normal notice period for tenants.
  • If you are involved in a legal issue, contact the Abu Dhabi Rent Disputes Resolution Committee.
  • Your landlord cannot raise the annual rent by more than 5%.
  • In the event of eviction, rent increase, or any other modification to the rental contract provisions, your landlord must provide you with two months’ notice.


For the most part, Abu Dhabi property legislation for tenants is conventional. It’s useful to understand what you may and cannot do under your lease contract with your landlord. To avoid issues later on, keep all of the following in mind before signing a lease contract.

This article is only offered for educational purposes, providing a general understanding of its material, including relevant laws and regulations, and is not meant to provide specific legal advice. The Blog is not meant to take the place of qualified guidance from a licensed professional.

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