21 May 2024

Bini Saroj

In Dubai, where the architecture meets the sky, rain is a rare visitor. However, when it does arrive, it can bring with it unexpected challenges, particularly for apartment dwellers. Understanding the responsibilities related to apartment repairs after rain damage is crucial for tenants and landlords alike.

Dubai: This article delves into the legal framework that outlines these responsibilities and offers guidance on handling the aftermath of rain-induced damage in Dubai. Following a rainstorm in Dubai, tenants might find themselves dealing with plumbing issues and water-damaged walls in their apartments. This situation raises an important question: who is responsible for covering the cost of these repairs, the landlord or the tenant?

Understanding the Legal Framework

The relationship between tenants and landlords in Dubai is primarily governed by Law No. 26 of 2007, as amended by Law No. 33 of 2008 (as the “Law”). This Law is designed to balance the interests of both parties in a rental agreement, ensuring fairness and clarity in dealings related to rental properties

Key Provisions of the Law

In Dubai, the general rule is that the landlord is responsible for the repair and maintenance of the rental property.

Article 16 of the Law explicitly states that: “The landlord shall, during the validity of the contract, be liable for handling the works of maintenance of property and the reparation of any defect or fault that affects the tenant's sought benefit, unless both parties otherwise agree.”

This means that unless the tenancy contract specifies otherwise, the landlord is obliged to handle repairs and maintenance necessary for the tenant in order to be able to fully use the property. This includes any damages caused by natural events like rainstorms. The landlord is responsible for the maintenance of the property during the term of the tenancy (as mentioned in the tenancy contract) and must fix any defects or damage that might affect the tenant's intended use of the property. This general rule covers significant aspects of the property, including the structure and utilities that might be affected by adverse weather conditions such as heavy rain.


Article 17 of the Law states that: "The landlord is responsible for any defect, damage, deficiency or wear and tear, caused to the leased property for any reason not attributable to the fault of the tenant."


Article 767(1) of Federal Law No. 5/1985 (the Civil Transactions Law) states that: "The landlord has the obligation to repair any defect that affects the tenant's use and enjoyment of the leased property. If the landlord fails to do so, the tenant shall have the right to cancel the lease or to apply for an order that he is allowed to affect the repair and recover the fair and reasonable cost thereof from the landlord – This article refers to major defects (structural) where the tenant is deprived of beneficial occupation." This elaborates that the Landlords have a legal obligation to maintain the property in a habitable condition throughout the lease term. This includes ensuring that the property is safe, structurally sound, and free from health hazards. The Landlords are responsible for major repairs related to the property's structure, plumbing, electrical systems, and heating/cooling systems.

When Tenants Might Be Responsible

However, the specifics of your tenancy contract are crucial. If the tenancy contract explicitly states that the tenant is responsible for certain types of maintenance and repairs, then the tenant is held liable for such costs. It is less common for such clauses to assign significant repair responsibilities to tenants, but it does happen.

Practical Steps for Tenants

  1. Review Your Tenancy Contract: The first step should always be to check the tenancy contract for any clauses related to maintenance and repairs. The tenancy contract will clarify whether the tenant or the landlord is responsible for the damage caused by the rain.
  2. Communicate with the Landlord: If the tenancy contract is unclear, or if the tenant believes that the damage falls under the landlord’s responsibilities, communicate with the landlord. Providing evidence of the damage and referencing Article 16 of the Law can support any case claimed by the tenant. Opening communication channels between the tenant and landlord can facilitate a smoother resolution process. Tenants should formally notify their landlords of the damage in writing and keep a record of all communications, as this documentation could be essential if any disagreements arise.
  3. Understand the Tenant’s Rights: Familiarizing oneself with the Law can help prevent disputes and ensure a fair and transparent living arrangement. Knowing who is responsible for repairs can protect the tenant from unnecessary stress and financial burden.

Tenant’s Responsibilities

While the bulk of repair responsibilities falls to the landlord, tenants also have obligations. Article 19 of the Law implies that the tenants are required to use the property in a manner that maintains its condition. If negligence on the part of the tenant leads to damage, the tenant may be liable for the damages caused by him. For instance, if a tenant fails to close windows during rain, leading to water damage inside the apartment, the tenant could be held responsible for the damage incurred.

Assessing and Reporting Damage

·        Immediate assessment and reporting of rain-induced damage are critical. Tenants should inform their landlords as soon as possible after discovering any damage. Documenting the damage through photographs and detailed notes is also advisable, as this information can be useful in repair discussions or potential disputes.

Insurance Considerations

·        While not mandatory, having home insurance can provide an additional layer of protection for both tenants and landlords. Insurance policies may cover some forms of rain damage, alleviating financial responsibilities for repairs. Tenants and landlords should review their insurance policies to understand the coverage scope and ensure that the property and its contents are adequately protected against natural elements like rain.

Dispute Resolution

·        If disagreements occur between the tenant and landlord regarding responsibilities for repairs, Dubai’s Rental Dispute Settlement Centre (RDSC) is the designated authority for resolving such issues. Established under Law No. 26, the RDSC provides a mechanism for both parties to resolve their disputes amicably and legally.

Preventive Measures

·        To minimize potential rain damage, regular maintenance is key. Landlords should ensure that all aspects of the property, such as the roof, windows, and plumbing, are well-maintained and prepared to withstand adverse weather conditions. Tenants, on their part, should take preventive measures like ensuring windows are closed during rain and reporting any maintenance issues that could exacerbate damage during a storm.

In Conclusion

In most cases, Dubai's landlords are responsible for maintaining the property and addressing any repair issues that interfere with the tenant's use of the property, including damage caused by rain. However, always check your lease agreement for any specific provisions that might shift this responsibility to you as the tenant.

Responsibility for apartment repairs after rain damage in Dubai primarily rests with the landlords, as stipulated by the Dubai Tenancy Law. However, tenants also have a role in maintaining the condition of the property and avoiding negligence that could lead to damage. By understanding their legal obligations and rights, both parties can manage rain damage effectively and maintain the quality and safety of the rental property. For any unresolved issues, the RDSC provides a structured process to address disputes and find a resolution.

By understanding the legal framework and the terms of your lease, you can better understand the responsibilities and ensure that necessary repairs are handled promptly and fairly.


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