If you're renting for the first time, here’s a helpful checklist to go through, including what to watch out for and hidden costs.
3 April 2017| Last updated on 4 September 2017
Finding a new home in Dubai is one of the most important decisions you have to make once you're here. Since rental prices here will be one of your biggest expenses, you want to make sure you're getting your money's worth and that you'll be happy with the place you choose.
There are many Dubai websites to help you in your search for apartment listings, incuding propertyfinder.ae and Dubizzle. Alternatively, you can seek out a real estate agent to help you with your search.
You should determine what you’re looking for so you can customize your search. You should decide on the following:
- Desired number of cheques
- Number of rooms
- Furnished or unfurnished
Seeing the apartment or villa in person is absolutely necessary. Once there, you should take note of the following:
- Parking facilities or access to public transport if you don’t drive
- Construction in the area
- Facilities (pool, gym, etc)
- Proximity to services (supermarkets, malls, restaurants, etc)
Keep in mind that real estate agents here might be somewhat different from back home. Don't be surprised if they don't show up to a viewing and simply tell you to go see it yourself.
When deciding on your budget, there are many things to take into account other than the annual rental price. There are fees and hidden costs that can quickly add up and you can end up realizing you can’t actually afford what you thought you can. Keep in mind that rent here is usually paid in 1-4 cheques for the entire year.
Ensure that you calculate all of the following as part of your budget.
- Agency fees: Real estate agents usually take around 5% of the annual rent price.
- Security deposit: It’s usually equal to one month’s rent and it’s refundable at the end of your contract.
- DEWA deposit: This is charged by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) and it’s mandatory. For apartments, the deposit is 2,000 and for villas, it’s is 4,000. The deposit is refundable once you leave. There’s also an additional non-refundable connection fee of Dh110.
- Housing fee: Also referred to as a municipality fee. It’s 5% of your annual rent and it will be added to your DEWA monthly bill.
- Ejari fees: This is for the tenancy Contract. It’s a one-time fee of Dhs195.
- Chiller deposit, gas deposit: This will depend on your place and the provider if applicable.
As with any other contract, you will need to carefully read it and make sure you agree with every clause and that it complies with the tenancy laws in Dubai. Contracts are usually for one year.
Both you and the landlord need to sign the contract and each of you gets a copy. Once you hand over the cheques, always make sure you get a receipt.
Mistakes to avoid
- Verify that your real estate agent is registered with RERA. You should be able to get their broker's number.
- Always write the rent cheques to the landlord and no one else. Beforehand, ask to see the title deed and get a copy of their passport to ensure the name matches.
- Make sure that there are no outstanding bills (ie DEWA or chiller) as these must be paid off before you can set up your account.
- Verify if there are any maintenance issues in the apartment/villa and request that they get fixed before you move in.