Renting Apartments in Dubai: A Guide for Foreigners

October 25, 2021

Are you moving to Dubai for work or business? If so, you have many housing options such as villas, townhouses, and UAE luxury apartments.

Find your new Dubai home by following this easy-to-follow guide on renting apartments in Dubai.

Make sure you check prospective apartments in person.

Seriously, this is the first and most crucial step. Do not rent sight unseen, whether in Dubai or somewhere else. While you can do an initial property search online, do not commit to anything without first personally checking everything.

A property that might seem like a dream on paper could turn out to be something else entirely in person. A list of specifications and a horde of pictures can never replace an actual ocular inspection.

How would you know what the view is like without actually seeing it with your own eyes? How would you know what the traffic is like without experiencing it yourself?

Yes, you can read about it from other people's reports. But your thresholds, limits, and tolerances are different from that of other people. For instance, what other people might deem lovely, you might consider drab. And you might find intolerable what others rate as light traffic.

Long-Term Rental

Most rental properties in Dubai come with one-year or longer lease agreements. Thus, it is doubly important to make sure you're renting the right place before you sign. Renting the wrong property could cost you a lot of money.

So, before signing a contract for that long-term lease, make sure to do your due diligence and do a thorough visual inspection of your options.

Short-Term Rental

While waiting to get your ideal residence, you can get a short-term rental in Dubai.

Getting a short-term rental is easy. You would generally need to present your passport. Naturally, short-term rentals are more expensive than long-term leases. You can save money by staying in a shared housing facility. Just be sure you’ll be living in a residence that’s in compliance with rental rules and guidelines.

Do everything through a reputable real estate agency.

As a foreigner in an unfamiliar country, you can avoid pitfalls by letting experienced professionals help you, at least the first time you try to rent in Dubai. You can probably do it yourself next time around.

Once you arrive in Dubai, go to a real estate agency, tell them about your budget and what you require in terms of housing, and they'll help you find the perfect property. Then, your agent can help you go around for viewing inspections.

Just make sure your agent is registered with the Real Estate Regulatory Agency. You can quickly check it on the Dubai Land Department (DLD)website.

Note that agency fees can cost you around five percent of one year's rent. However, there are also no-commission agents in Dubai. Such agents could take a fixed fee or get their commission from the property owner.

Make an offer.

After going through each option and deciding on a property, make an offer through your agent.

Your offer should be specific. What is your offer rate? What payment terms are you keen on?

Of course, your potential landlord would already have rates, and terms set, but you can still negotiate.

One of the terms you can try negotiating is the rent you need to pay in advance. Some landlords might require an entire year's rent at once, but you can try to negotiate three months’ worth of advance payments plus pre-dated checks for the rest of the year.

Ask the landlord, too, about the terms for early contract termination.

Reserve the property.

Upon the landlord’s acceptance of your offer and both parties’ agreement on the lease terms, it's time to make a reservation.

Reservation requires you to do the following.

Pay a refundable reservation deposit, which is typically 5% of the rental amount.

The agent will hold the deposit in escrow. If you change your mind about the rental or cannot proceed with the rental for some reason, that deposit will go to the landlord. If all goes well, the agent will return it to you, and you can use it to cover part of your advance rent payments.

Make sure to get a receipt for your deposit.

Present the required documents.

Tenants may need to present some or all of the following documents.

  • Passport
  • Residence visa
  • Emirates ID
  • Work contract or salary certificate
  • Bank statement

If you are married, you may be required to present your marriage certificate attested by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Sign the rental contract, pay, and access cards, keys, etc.

The rental contract in Dubai is called ejari. Do not sign it hastily. Make sure to go over every line of the agreement and check that everything is clear.

Where the contract is unclear, ask for clarification and revise the agreement to include the clarified terms to avoid ambiguity and prevent future disputes.

You must understand and agree with the terms of the contract fully before you sign it. Dubai is very strict about enforcing rental agreements to the letter, so read the fine print.

If the contract says you must provide 90 days’ notice before contract termination, you should adhere to it. If the contract says you will pay a heavy penalty for early contract termination, you would. You'll have no choice but to comply or face the consequences.

So, before you sign, make sure the contract is clear about how early termination notices and disputes will be handled. It should also protect your interests, for instance, from the landlord's unilateral termination of the contract.

If everything is in order, pay your advance rent and hand over the pre-dated checks you’ve agreed to provide. If you’re paying your agent a commission, you also need to pay your agent the agreed-upon commission at this time.

Make sure to get all the necessary receipts from the landlord and your agent. You should also get a copy of the contract and receive your access cards, keys, and other access paraphernalia (say, proof of parking access).

Get your DEWA registration sorted out.

You need to register with the Dubai Electric and Water Authority (DEWA) to get electricity and water. Registration and payment are simple procedures, both in-person or online, and activation takes only 24 hours. Your agent can help you with this.

Register your contract on Ejari at DLD.

You must register your rental contract with the Dubai Land Department. Your agent should be able to help you with this step.

Move into your apartment.

Depending on where you’re moving, there could be additional requirements. For instance, if you’re moving to an apartment building, you might have to accomplish a move-in form and get the consent of the owners’ association.

Renting an Apartment Is Easy

Renting an apartment in Dubai is pretty straightforward. Just make sure you follow the steps outlined above.

Alternatively, you can obtain the services of a relocation and destination services provider, who can guide you throughout the entire process, from relocation to moving to Dubai to settling in, including renting an apartment.




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Carlos Diaz
I believe in making the impossible possible because there’s no fun in giving up. Travel, design, fashion and current trends in the field of industrial construction are topics that I enjoy writing about.

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