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Rental agreement

I am not only an Arab Times reader but have also been an annual subscriber for over a decade. I am trying to shift to a bigger house and have been told that the rent agreement shall be for 5 years and during these 5 years the house owner cannot increase the rent, which is very good.

Will this condition be written in the rent agreement or just verbal?

Is it also true that I cannot leave the house before completing the 5 years. Is it also true that the house owner (not the tenant) can give me one month’s notice to leave the house any time during the stipulated 5 years.

Name withheld

Answer: It all depends on the contract that you draw and the clauses therein.

First of all, please remember the standard contract is for one year only. Even in these contracts, unless otherwise specified, you can vacate the premises or the landlord can have it vacated with a three-month notice.

After the first year, the lease continues on a month to month basis with the same terms and conditions stipulated in the contract.

The only thing constant is that the rent can’t be raised for five although this doesn’t hold true “in letter and spirit” because landlords have been seen nowadays to have raised the rent by over 100 per cent within two years. Now coming to the five-year contract, that you are planning to sign, we would advise you to go over it very carefully else you could find yourself in trouble if you run into a “bad” landlord. Look closely at the clauses.

It is up to you and the landlord to agree on the wording instead of going for the standard contract. Please ensure there is a clause which says that you can leave whenever you like with a three-month notice and in the same way the landlord evict you with a similar notice.

So, with five-year contracts being special, you have to have a close look at the wording of these contracts. This will ensure that your hands are not tied at a later date, especially with the way a lot of landlords — not all — are behaving these days.

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