In February 2010, a significant change to landlord and tenant law came through the enactment of Law 4 of 2010. At first glance the implications to tenants of the amendments were of concern. The law provided for an end to tenants' automatic right of renewal and security of tenure which had existed for the first five years of occupation for both commercial and residential tenants with effect for tenancies expiring after 9 November 2010. Public concern over the new law was allayed by a helpful statement by the Deputy General Secretary of the Executive Council reassuring those concerned that greater protection for landlords at the expense of tenants' security was not the intention, and that the change formed part of a wider review of the rental market in Abu Dhabi with an objective of creating a balance between consumers' and suppliers' interests. Later in the year, the Executive Council extended the time period for implementation of the new changes to 9 November 2011 and we await further changes to the law in due course.
The 5% annual rent increase cap has also been retained and Abu Dhabi now requires developers to provide a percentage of middle-income 'affordable housing' as part of their developments. Such measures are intended to try and mitigate the effects of market imbalances in the Abu Dhabi real estate market over the last few years and are likely to be maintained through 2011.