Dubai: What Residents Can Do When Neighbours Violate Privacy, Create Nuisance

(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Published: Sun 25 Feb 2024, 9:25 AM

Question: My neighbour has built a cricket net practice area in his backyard, very close to the shared boundary wall. He has built a professional cricket pitch, installed net and flood lights, and uses a heavy roller and ball machine. His two sons, who play professional cricket for local clubs, hammer the red balls, creating a huge nuisance beyond permissible limits in residential areas. We cannot rest, relax, sleep, study or enjoy indoors or outdoors. The blinding lights invade our privacy as we cannot sit in our backyard in the evenings due to the constant noise and blinding lights. The workers climb the wall to fix the net and peep into our property, invading privacy. Kindly advise me on what options we, 'the law-abiding and peace-loving residents', have.

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Response: Pursuant to your queries, it is assumed that you and your neighbour are living in an independent residential premises (villas) in the emirate of Dubai and it is further assumed that the workers of your neighbours stare and invade the privacy of female members of your family. Therefore, the provisions of Dubai Municipality Local Order No. 61 of 1991 on the Environment Protection Regulations in the Emirate of Dubai (the 'Dubai Municipality Local Order No. 61 of 1991'), Federal Law No. 5 on Civil Transactions Law (the 'UAE Civil Transactions Law') and Federal Decree Law No. 31 of 2021 on the Issuance of the Crimes and Penalties Law (the 'UAE Penal Law') are applicable.

Firstly, in the UAE, an individual who has a property may not cause inconvenience to his or her neighbours or neighbours' property. This is in accordance with Article 1144 of the UAE Civil Transactions Law, which states, “1. The owner must not exercise his right in an excessive manner to the extent detrimental to his neighbour's property.

2. The neighbour has no right of action against his neighbour for the usual unavoidable inconvenience, but he may claim the suppression of these inconveniences if they exceed the usual limits, taking into consideration in this respect custom, the nature of the immovable properties, their respective locations and the use for which they are intended. The license issued by the competent authorities is not a bar to the exercise of such a right of action.

3. Restricting the Rights of the Person in Favor of whom the Act of Disposition has been taken.”

Further, the term 'Noise' by individuals or group if individuals is defined in Article 74 (1) (e) of the Dubai Municipality Local Order No. 61 of 1991, which states,“Noise means any noise of such nature that unreasonably interfere with the peace, comfort and convenience of any person, other than a person in or at the premises from which the noise is being emitted. Noise may be emitted by any persons, while attending any gathering or meeting in or at any residential premises or place of assembly”

An individual may file a complaint with the 'Noise Control Officer' of the Dubai Municipality If any individual or group of individuals are noisy or emit noise from any premises. The Noise Control Officer may visit the premises where noise is caused and may also seek assistance from the police in this matter. This is in accordance with Article 77 of the Dubai Municipality Local Order No. 61 of 1991, which states,“Any person may complain against noise emitted from any premises to control room in Dubai Municipality in order to inform Noise Control Officer. The officer then shall take any of the following procedures:

a) move to the complaint site and deal with the person causing the noise, and remove the cause of complaint; or

b) inform the police if he was convinced that there is a real risk of violence or that for any other special reason, the case appears to require the involvement of the police to deal with the case.”

Moreover, the Dubai Municipality may investigate the complaint of an individual and may issue necessary directives in accordance with the provisions of Article 78 of the Dubai Municipality Local Order No. 61 of 1991, which states as follows:

"If, upon investigating the complaint, the Noise Control Officer or the policeman is of the opinion that the noise is excessive, he shall direct the person responsible for causing the excessive noise to forthwith abate it to a reasonable level or at the time set by the Noise Control Officer or the policeman."

And, if upon issuance of such order, the individual or group of individuals concerned does not comply with the directives made in the order, the Noise Control Officer may take necessary actions, as provided under the provisions of Article 79 of the Dubai Municipality Local Order No. 61 of 1991, which reads as follows:

“If the person causing the noise is not complying with the issued order, the Noise Control Officer may take the following procedures:

  • Seize the instrument or render it inoperable by removing any part therefrom.
  • Lock or seal or temporarily seize the noise-emitting instrument and transport it to the municipality stores for safekeeping.
  • Write the necessary report of the case and of action taken and propose proper penalty."

    Secondly, it is illegal to stare at a woman in the UAE, which may be termed as indecent behaviour. This is in accordance with Article 412(1) of the UAE Penal Law, which states,”A jail sentence for a period not exceeding (1) year and fine not exceeding AED ten thousand (10,000) or either one of these two penalties shall be imposed against any male who:

    - offences the decency of a woman by words or actions on a public road or a frequented place."

    Further, any indecent behaviour against a woman who is below 18 (eighteen) years of age may be considered a serious crime. This is in accordance with paragraph 3 of Article 411 of the UAE Penal Law, which states,“Any person who commits an act against decency with a female or a young man under the age of eighteen (18) years, even if not publicly, shall be liable to a jail sentence for a period not less than one (1) year.”

    Based on the aforementioned provisions of law, you may consider filing a complaint with the Dubai Municipality and the Dubai Police for their intervention related to noise emitted by your neighbour while his children are practising cricket at nets and against his workers for indecent behaviour against you and your family members especially against women.

    Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom and India. Full details of his firm on: Readers may e-mail their questions to: ... or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.


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