What is a Sitting Tenant and What are their Rights?

  • July 26 2023
sitting tenant

Within the extensive universe of property leasing, a certain category named 'sitting tenant' draws attention. Though not commonly echoed in daily conversation, it nevertheless serves as a catalyst for many discussions revolving around tenant and landlord rights in the UAE. We now take a journey into the intricacies of a sitting tenant, thus illuminating the complex elements that define its essence.

What is a Sitting Tenant?

Amid the maze of leasing jargon, 'sitting tenant' stands as a singular classification. A sitting tenant, in layman terms, refers to a tenant occupying a property during a transition of ownership. Their tenancy, usually secured through a regulated or protective agreement, survives the property sale, empowering them to retain occupancy across various ownership turnovers.

Understanding the Rights of a Sitting Tenant

The rights of a sitting tenant, largely codified by regional tenancy laws, present a collage of entitlements and protection measures. These typically include the right to continuous residence, protection against unfair eviction, and immunity against unjustifiable rent increases. The narrative of these rights signifies a legalistic attempt to protect the sanctity of the tenant's domicile despite the changing dynamics of property ownership.

Repairs and Maintenance

Tenant Responsibilities for Repairs

 One of the integral rights of sitting tenants' pivots around the realm of repairs and maintenance. Tenants have the right to live in a safe and habitable environment, which implies that landlords are obligated to execute necessary repairs and maintenance. Any deliberate oversight in this sphere could potentially constitute a breach of the landlord's obligations.

Other Rights and Entitlements

Aside from the fundamental rights outlined above, sitting tenants have additional benefits. These can encompass aspects like the right to challenge excessive service charges, sublet the property with the landlord's consent, and even make improvements to the property under specific conditions.

Buying a Property with Sitting Tenants

Buying a Property with Sitting Tenants

For those considering the purchase of a property with a sitting tenant, a comprehensive review is suggested. Future buyers must be aware that the transaction will not dissolve the rights of the current tenant. Moreover, they need to be informed about the specific contractual details of the existing tenancy agreement before proceeding with the purchase.

Selling a Property with Sitting Tenants

Conversely, selling a property with sitting tenants calls for a distinct set of considerations. Sellers may face a diminution in the property value due to the perpetual rights granted to the tenants. Transparency about the tenant's status and rights to prospective buyers is not only ethical but also mandated by most property laws.

The Origin of Sitting Tenants

An exploration into the origins of sitting tenants reveals the concept to be deeply enmeshed in the social fabric of post-war Britain. It came into existence as a protective measure in response to the acute housing crisis following World War II. A dearth of habitable properties, coupled with an influx of people needing accommodation, led to the implementation of protective regulations. These laws birthed the concept of sitting tenants, offering occupants security of tenure and regulated rent levels to mitigate exploitation.

The Modern-Day Significance of Sitting Tenants

Today, the world of property leasing has evolved drastically, but the concept of sitting tenants retains its relevance. It serves as a testament to the fundamental right to shelter, underscoring the importance of providing stability and security to those leasing properties. Amid a fluid market of ownership transfers, it ensures that the occupant's right to peaceful residence remains unscathed, thereby promoting a more balanced property leasing landscape.

The Legal Matrix of Sitting Tenants in Arab Regions

The legal framework enveloping sitting tenants is majorly influenced by regional property laws in Arab nations. Key legal instruments, including the Civil Code in Egypt or Law No. 26 of 2007 in the UAE, stipulate the details of the rights associated with sitting tenants. Acting as judicial safeguards, these statutes ensure robust protection for sitting tenants from unjustified rent augmentations, eviction without reason, and disregard of maintenance and repair obligations.

Sitting Tenants in the UAE's Legal Matrix

The legal context of sitting tenants is significantly influenced by regional property laws in Arab nations. Pivotal legal statutes, such as the UAE's Law No. 26 of 2007, dictate the specifics of rights attributed to sitting tenants. Functioning as judicial protections, these regulations ensure stringent safeguards for sitting tenants against baseless rent increments, eviction without legitimate cause, and neglect of repair and maintenance duties.

Sitting Tenants and the Property Market

 Sitting Tenants and the Property Market
Understanding the impact of sitting tenants on the property market is fundamental. From the landlord's perspective, a sitting tenant might depreciate property value, owing to the enduring rights the tenant possesses. From the tenant's standpoint, however, it offers a robust security net, protecting them against the instability of changing property ownership. The market therefore presents a complex interplay of competing interests and rights.

Related: Ways Tenants Can Pay Rent in UAE: A Complete Guide

Handling the Challenges of Sitting Tenants  

Navigating the complexities of dealing with sitting tenants can prove challenging for landlords and new property owners. Tenants' enduring rights might sometimes spark disputes around rent amendments, property alterations, and even property sale. Legal advice and careful negotiations are often crucial in traversing these potential obstacles, promoting a harmonious landlord-tenant relationship.

Preserving Tenants' Rights, Balancing Interests: The Imperative for Equitable Lease Policies

Lease Agreement
In the fast-paced and continually transforming real estate market of the UAE, the rights and privileges of tenants and landlords frequently emerge as central discussion points. At the heart of these conversations, we find the 'sitting tenant'—a concept that symbolizes the principles of equitable leasing practices.

Safeguarding the rights of a sitting tenant, while simultaneously considering the prerogatives of landlords and property proprietors, constitutes a pivotal element of ethical rental procedures. Principles such as respect for tenancy, immunity from unwarranted eviction, and entitlement to essential property upkeep merge to forge an environment conducive to peaceful coexistence between the tenant and the landlord.

This approach does more than merely fulfil a legal obligation—it also cultivates an environment of mutual trust and reciprocal respect. A sitting tenant, reassured of their rights, is inclined to maintain the property diligently and adhere to reasonable guidelines. A landlord, appreciating and upholding these rights, can anticipate a property that is well cared for and occupied by satisfied, conscientious individuals.

Hence, gaining a nuanced understanding of sitting tenants' rights and integrating this knowledge into property rental practices is not only crucial but beneficial for all involved parties. As we navigate the constantly shifting property terrain, Al Majid Property Co. LLC remains a steadfast advocate of transparent and equitable leasing procedures, ensuring mutually beneficial outcomes for all stakeholders in the property leasing ecosystem.



Can A Sitting Tenant Be Evicted Without a Valid Reason?  

Unjustifiable eviction of sitting tenants is typically forbidden by tenancy laws, providing them with a robust shield against arbitrary dispossession.

Are Sitting Tenants Entitled to Request Repairs and Maintenance?  

Yes, sitting tenants have a fundamental right to demand necessary repairs and maintenance to ensure a safe and habitable living environment.

Can A Sitting Tenant Sublet the Property to Someone Else?  

Generally, sitting tenants can sublet the property, but this typically requires the landlord's consent.

Are Sitting Tenants Protected from Rent Increases During Their Tenancy?  

Rent Increase Notice
Yes, sitting tenants are often protected from unwarranted rent hikes, although specifics may vary based on local tenancy laws.


Can Sitting Tenants Make Modifications or Improvements to the Property?  

Tenants are usually permitted to make certain improvements or modifications, often subject to the landlord's consent.

Read more: What Do Landlords Look for in a Tenant?


The notion of a sitting tenant presents a complex mosaic of property law, tenant rights, and contractual duties. It stands as a lasting shield for tenants, ensuring their dwelling remains inviolable despite shifts in ownership. Whether you're a landlord, potential buyer, or tenant, we invite you to delve further into this topic, enhancing your understanding and promoting fair treatment for all parties.

If you have any doubts or concerns regarding the obligations of the sitting tenants, you must get professional advice to ensure that you follow the correct legal procedures.  

Al Majid Property Co. LLC, a reputable property management company, can provide guidance and advice on various landlord and tenant issues. Make an appointment with one of our consultants right away to get the advice you require for navigating the rental market successfully.