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Renting Procedures in Dubai

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Steps to finding an apartment

Step 1. Search apartment listings in websites such as KT buzzon, getthat.com, dubizzle, propertyfinder.ae, JustProperty.com, bayut. You can limit the listings based on your needs such as number of rooms, areas, furnished/unfurnished, etc. The advertiser usually states the following clearly:

- Rental Amount

- Number of cheques over a rental year

- Security deposit (usually 5% of the rental amount)

- Furnished or unfurnished

- When can the unit be viewed

- Desired starting date

- Any other conditions

Step 2. Shortlist a few apartments that meet your requirement and call up the contact person mentioned in the listing, who will either be the agent or landlord. It's advisable to formulate a plan and narrow down your preferred locations three months in advance. Usually the landlord/agent is more likely to be interested in you if you're ready to move in within a month's time.

Step 3. View the unit:

This is the obvious next step. Make sure you take note of the minute details when you visit (take photographs if required.)

A few points to keep in mind:

- Access to and from the metro station or bus stop, in case you don't drive

- Security

- Proximity to your workplace

- Noise in the area

- If possible interact with the neighbours to know if they face any challenges

- Facilities such as gym or swimming pool

- Parking facilities

Step 4. Making an offer

In case you decide to take the unit, you may want to negotiate on the rental amount. The most common way to go about this is to bargain on the number of cheques. Sometimes the landlord agrees to reduce the total rental amount if the number of cheques is reduced.

Don't forget to clarify other specifics such as when the contract will start, its duration, and deposit amount.

Step 5. Reserve the property

If you want the landlord/agent to secure that unit for you, you will be asked to pay a refundable security deposit. It's usually 5% of the rental amount.

The cash or cheque is made payable to the landlord but is held by the agent until the deal has been finalised. Make sure that you are given a receipt for the deposit. If you later choose to back out from the deal, the agent will rightfully hand over the cheque to the landlord.

At this point, you also need to provide the following to the agent:

- Your Passport

- Residence visa copy (or an original letter from your sponsor/company stating that your visa is under process)

Step 6. Drafting the contract

The agent will then send the Tenancy Contract which will include all the information regarding the rental (including any special conditions agreed by both parties). Go through it thoroughly and suggest changes if necessary. For instance if you want the property to be repainted, make sure it's clearly stated.

The contract must comply with the tenancy laws in Dubai.

Step 7. Signing the contract

After you're convinced about the contract, you may sign and submit, and hand over the rent cheques and the agency commission. Make sure you receive invoices for the same.

The agent will then get the landlord to sign the contract, hand over the cheques to him (sign an acknowledgement receipt).

The landlord will keep one of the signed contracts and the other signed contract can be kept by the tenant. The tenant will be given the keys and access cards. The tenant will also sign a handover form clearly stating that he/she is receiving 'x' amount of keys, access cards, parking bay slots, etc.).

Step 8. Connecting DEWA

The tenant will need to submit the following documents to DEWA (Dubai Electricity & Water Authority):

- DEWA number (found on the side on the property's entrance)

- Copy of the tenant's and landlord's passport

- DEWA form

- Title deed (for freehold property or SPA if it has been bought from a reputable developer) or affection plan

- Dh2,000 (for apartments) or Dh4,000 (for villas) as a refundable deposit, and Dh110 for setup charges
Supply is activated within 24 hours of registration and payment of security deposit.

Online Procedure

1. Online Application Submission Fill-in the online application form with required information.

2. Mandatory required attachments are : Tenancy Agreement Passport with Valid Visa Page/Trade License. You will be required to pay Security Deposit online using ePay.

(Info from DEWA website)

Step 9. Ejari Registration

The following documents are required:

- Original tenancy contract

- Original receipt of DEWA connection in the tenant's name

- Title deed (for freehold property or SPA if it has been bought from a reputable developer) or affection plan

- Copy of the tenant's and landlord's passport

- Copy of Emirates ID

Step 10. Move-in form

Some developers need the tenants to submit an NOC before they can move into the property. The following documents are required:

- EJARI Certificate

- Passport and visa copy of the tenant

- Copy of the Tenancy Contract

- Move-in form

For instance, the security in the building could be such that they don't allow tenants to move in on Fridays. The tenant must raise these questions with the landlord before hand.

NOTE: The rents can have a fixed contract, which is usually one year, or no contract. In case the contract is for less than a year, it falls under short-term rental. The laws are governed by Dubai Tourism board.

Watch out for these 6 hidden costs

1. Agency fees: Usually 2 to 5% of the first annual rent

2. Ejari fees: Dh195 for all types of properties

3. Housing fee: 5% of annual rents added to DEWA bills

4. Security deposit: Usually one month's rent, refundable

5. DEWA deposit:


Dh2,000 (deposit - refund on leaving)
Dh110 (connection, non refundable)

Dh4,000 (deposit - refund on leaving)
Dh110 (connection, non refundable)
6. Chiller deposit/ gas deposit: Varies according to the provider

10 things to remember before signing on the dotted line

1. Ensure that your real estate agent is Rera registered. They should be able to provide you with their broker number.

2. Write your cheques directly to the landlord. Before handing them over, ask for a copy of your landlord's passport and if possible the title deeds too.

3. Ask your agent to check that all service charges have been paid by the landlord, and if possible get it in writing too.

4. Ask your agent to check that there are no outstanding bills for Dewa or the chiller (air conditioning). If there are, they will need to be paid before you can set up an account.

5. If there are maintenance issues that need to be resolved before you move in, ensure that they are taken care of.

6. Be aware of how many car parking spaces you have. It is not uncommon for there to be only one to share between a husband and wife. Also find out if there is visitors parking too, and how to access it.

7. Know how to access all parts of the building. Often, swipe cards and door keys are needed to enter your property.

8. If the property is not clean before you move in, ask for it to be cleaned in advance of you moving in. A property should be handed over in a habitable condition.

9. Take photos of any issues you find with the apartment and let your agent and landlord know. This will avoid issues when you try and prove they were there before.

10. Once you have your tenancy contract, sign up for Ejari.

How to know if your landlord can increase your rent?

You should keep a track of market conditions to know if the rents are likely to go up. In order to calculate your rental increase, you can check the rental increase calculator provided by Dubai Lands Department. Visit this page, enter your contract expiry date, area, property type, no. of bedrooms and your current annual rent, and you will know if your landlord can increase your rent.

According to propertyfinder.ae, the average/similar rent value of a property should be determined by the 'Rent Index of the Emirate of Dubai' approved by RERA. This index is updated every quarter, so visit the RERA site to determine the average rent for your property.
More Points to note

The condition of the apartment

Your landlord is required to give you the new apartment in the best possible condition. It should ideally be cleaned and freshly painted, while all existing fixtures must be repaired or replaced if neccessary. Make sure you check that this is all done before you sign on the dotted line.

Landlord cannot withhold your security deposit

The security deposit is given to the landlord to deal with deliberate damage made by the tenant, and has to be returned if no damage is found.
In case of breach of contract by tenant, parties should reach an amicable settlement on remaining period of contract while security deposit has to be returned to tenant, unless deliberate damage by tenant can be proved.
Tenant wishing to break contract prematurely.

As a contract between two parties, the tenancy cannot be broken before end of term by either party without substantial compensation. However, this is something tenants should look at, during the time of writing up the contract.

Make sure you enter an exit clause (in case of unforeseen circumstances such as loss of employment) so you can break the contract with some notice or minor compensation.

If the tenancy contract has no exit clause, the tenant should ideally settle the issues amicably with the landlord. The landlord cannot keep the security deposit unless deliberate damage to property by the tenant can be proven.

New Landlord

According to Article 28 of Dubai's property law amended in 2007, transfer of ownership of the building does not affect tenancy contracts. The tenant can continue with the terms of the contract and occupy the house as per all agreed-upon rights until the date specified for contract expiry.

Cutting off services

Under no circumstances is the landlord allowed to cut services or amenities to the tenant's rental property. In case this happens, the tenant can complain at the police station in the area and can also claim compensation for damages resulting from such cuts through the Judicial Committee created for dealing with tenancy disputes.

Disclaimer: This is just a guideline and should only be taken as such. Gulf News is not responsible for any changes to or misinterpretations of the law governing property or rental contracts. Contact concerned ministerial departments for all your queries.

Abu Dhabi Municipality
Al Ain Municipality
Sharjah Municipality
Ajman Land and Property Department
Fujairah Municipality
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