Tenants made redundant over COVID-19 can terminate lease early

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Rental Dispute Settlement Centre (RDC) find job redundancy due to COVID-19 is grounds for tenants to terminate their lease early without penalty.

The Rental Dispute Settlement Centre (RDC) at Dubai Land Department has upheld a claim from a tenant who was dismissed, accepting there are 'exceptional circumstances'.

According to Ludmila Yamalova, Legal Consultant at HP Yamalova and Plewka, it's a very recent decision that will have far-reaching implications for many who have been placed in difficult circumstances outside their control due to the pandemic.

"It's a huge relief because we all know the UAE economy has been quite healthy in the last few years and off the back of that people have entered into all sorts of financial commitments and obligations with big hopes," says Yamalova. 

She explained that there's still a requirement to prove the extent to which one's personal circumstances have been impacted. 

"The event of 'force majeure' must be unforeseeable and inevitable and by virtue of that event the performance of a contract has to be impossible," said Yamalova.

"It's not just there's a pandemic out there going on in the world and therefore I don't want to continue with my obligations, it's just that particular event has to have caused your circumstances to be such that you can no longer perform the obligation," she added.

The original RDC judgment is available online in Arabic.

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