Homes & Real Estate

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Renting a Property

Renting a property in Dubai is fairly easy – but only after you have mastered the game. And, if you have just arrived, you should ideally be doing a fair bit of research, and asking around as well. Renting or leasing is quite different to how it is done in say, North America or the UK. One major point to note is that even today, most landlords (or even property management companies) will agree to have you pay rent on a monthly basis. The common practice has been that you pay your annual rent in two or three, or a max of four installment pre-dated cheques. While some landlords and property management companies are now waking up to international norms, it requires you to be hard nosed and ask confidently. Also, it’s more difficult to negotiate if you ask for multiple cheque payments. If you are able to ensure that your cheques won’t bounce, you are in a better position to bargain with fewer cheques. If you find your property through an estate agent, the usual fee is 5% of the annual rent.

As mentioned before you really need to do your research as to which area of Dubai you want to live in. Dubai is constantly growing there are new areas that are under development all the time and properties are coming open for rent and buying which were never around before. 

For many business professionals living in downtown Dubai or around the IFC which is the Dubai international financial center is the choice that they make these areas tend to be expensive. Dubai Marina is popular among Western expats and has a younger population while middle income areas such as Greens, Springs and the Lakes offer more cost effective villa options. Bur Dubai and Deira offer far cheaper options to rent – they are older parts of town (the buildings are a bit older, naturally), but they are surrounded by a plethora of interesting restaurants and cafeterias.

Before you sign on the dotted line… Make sure that the owner or landlord should be responsible for all the costs of maintaining the property and ask about who actually maintains the common areas. If you can, you might want to speak to the other tenants in the building or compound to make sure that the place is well looked after.

As far as documentation goes you will need to provide your agent or your landlord copies of your UAE residency visa and the passport if you haven’t got your visa yet you can start working on the application process and you will also need a cheque book from your bank in your name on which you will make the rental payments. This is very important – you really can’t process a rental agreement without this.

When you’re signing the contract make sure you take photographs of your apartment or villa before you move in otherwise you might have problems claiming your deposit at the end of your stay Good landlords ideally give a fresh coat of paint before you move in and I you might have to do the same when you leave.

Remember that any rental agreement in the emirate is not final until it has been registered with Ejari which is the official online portal of the Dubai real estate regulatory agency. This registration process with Ejari is usually done by the landlord or the property management company or you can just simply do it at on their site or through a customer service center anywhere around the city.

Before you move in you will need your DEWA utilities meaning your water and electricity connected from the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority. For this you will need to take your passport and Emirates ID to a DEWA service center (called ‘happiness centers’) anywhere around the city. Remember that you need to have a deposit of Dhs 2,000 for apartments or Dhs 4,000 for villas to activate your account..