Dubai is a sought-after destination among the cosmopolitan population looking for lucrative career opportunities and comfortable lifestyles. Thousands of expats move to Dubai looking to turn their dreams into reality. Hence, the vibrant city has an excellent selection of residential properties to accommodate its growing population. If you are new to town and not sure about where to start on finding your first home, we’ve got you covered! Here is our comprehensive guide to renting in Dubai.
GUIDE TO RENTING IN DUBAI FOR BEGINNERS
Whether you are looking for an apartment or villa for rent in Dubai, here is a list of everything you need to do. This guide to renting in Dubai will ensure you find the house which is just right for you and your family.
SEARCH AND SHORTLIST PROPERTY LISTINGS
Renting in Dubai for many starts with a quick online search. You can check out Bayut to identify properties for rent in Dubai that suit your individual preferences and budget. Some of the types of residential properties in Dubai that you can find on the website include:
- Residential Plots
- Hotel apartments
Once you identify a property, you can get more information on the various aspects of the property from the description. This is including and not limited to details such as:
- Annual rent of the property
- Location of the apartment or villa for rent in Dubai
- Number of rooms and baths
- Furnished or unfurnished
- Comprehensive list of amenities
- Nearby schools, parks, hospitals and restaurants
It’s good to have a general idea of what type of property you are looking for, what you can afford, how many rooms you need and the desired location before starting the search. You can refine the search results for villas and apartments for rent in Dubai based on variables such as budget, property type, location, number of bedrooms and bathrooms to make sure you see only relevant listings.
If you are renting an apartment in Dubai, you can take your pick from units ranging from cosy studios to spacious 3-bed units, with some residential areas offering larger 4 and 5-bedroom flats. As for the villas for rent in Dubai, you can find a variety of units starting from smaller 2-bedroom houses to palatial homes which come with over 11 bedrooms!
You can review active listings on the website and shortlist properties based on your specific criteria. Select the ones that seem most appealing to you based on pictures, annual rent, amenities and location. Get in touch with the contact person (usually an agent or the landlord) and set up a visit to see your potential new home. You can even save the searches and come back to it later. This is especially a handy tool, as you might want to look at a few properties before getting in touch with the agent.
It is also important to confirm the agency commission for renting a property. Typically agencies charge anywhere between 2% to 5% of the annual rent. However, its always better to have clarity before you commit to an agreement.
VISIT THE PROPERTY
Once you set a date for an on-site visit with the agent, head out to the area and keep a list of questions to ask them. Try to reach a little early and spend some time scanning the neighbourhood. Examine the property as thoroughly as you want and arrange a second visit at a different time to get a better idea of what it would be like to live there.
Before you sign the rental agreement, just tick all the boxes of things that are important for you. These should also include hidden costs of renting in Dubai like agency fees.
A FEW FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN LOOKING AT PROPERTY FOR RENT IN DUBAI
For the unit:
- Does the apartment or villa get enough natural light?
- Do you like the view?
- Are the rooms spacious enough?
- Are the fixtures and fittings in good condition?
- Does it need repainting?
- Is the plumbing working?
- Are the electrical outlets in the right spot?
- Do tenants get a designated parking spot?
- Is the building equipped with security measures such as cameras, a security guard and an intercom?
- Are there any facilities such as gym and swimming pool?
* Tenants can request the landlord to resolve maintenance issues before signing the rental agreement or insert clauses in the agreement to that effect.
For the neighbourhood:
- Is the neighbourhood noisy?
- Are there any construction sites nearby?
- Is it in close or manageable proximity to your workplace?
- Is it well-connected by public transport? (See apartments for rent near Dubai metro stations)
- Are there any community areas, supermarkets, laundry services, and pharmacies nearby?
- Is it family-friendly? (check out the best places to rent in Dubai for families)
- For pet-owners, find out if pets are allowed and if the neighbourhood is pet-friendly and/or in close proximity to these pet-friendly places in Dubai
- What is the parking situation around the neighbourhood?
If you happen to pass by existing tenants when finding a house in Dubai, it might be a good idea to strike up a conversation and find out what it’s like living in the building or the neighbourhood.
Tip: Try and visit a couple of apartments or villas before you make the final decision. Tenancy contracts in Dubai are usually on an annual basis, so spend some time weighing all your options and make an offer when you’ve done your research on the unit, the building and the area.
MAKE AN OFFER
Once you’ve looked around and decided on an apartment or villa, the second step to renting in Dubai is finalising the offer. While most contracts have quarterly or bi-annual payment terms, landlords usually agree on lowering the annual rent if you can pay the amount in fewer cheques. However, before committing to a single-cheque arrangement, make sure you’re prepared to stay in the house for a while, otherwise, you could incur losses.
If you’re unsure about the unit or the neighbourhood, or simply need a bit more flexibility, you can choose short-term rentals instead. Check out our comparison of short-term vs long-term rentals to figure out which option is best for you.
Tip: If you’re ready to go ahead with renting the apartment or villa in Dubai, this is a good time to make sure that your real estate agent is RERA-registered. This is a common practice in Dubai, so ask for your agent’s broker number to be certain.
RESERVE THE PROPERTY
To reserve the property, you will need to pay a refundable security deposit (one month’s rent or 5% of the rent) to your landlord. If you’re going through a real estate agent, he/she will usually hold onto this amount until the deal is finalised. Make you get a receipt when you submit the deposit cheque (or cash). Should you wish to back out of the deal for any reason, the agent will hand over this the security deposit amount to your landlord as compensation. The documents required for this process include:
- Passport copy
- Residence visa copy (or an official document from your employer or sponsor stating that your visa is being processed)
Click plenty of pictures of the vacant property to claim the security deposit amount in full at the end of your tenancy contract. As mentioned earlier, don’t forget to take a receipt once you make the security deposit payment. Retain this along with a copy of the landlord’s passport.
Tip: Rent cheques should address the landlord. Ask for a copy of your landlord’s passport and title deed (if possible) before handing them over.
REVIEW AND SIGN THE TENANCY AGREEMENT
Once you pay the security deposit, your agent shares the tenancy contract with you. The contract must be in accordance with tenancy laws in Dubai. It’s also vital that you understand what tenants in Dubai are entitled to before formalising a contract. So make sure you learn all about tenant rights in Dubai.
Both parties can add special clauses as long as there is a mutual agreement on the same. Make sure you go over the contract, suggest changes if required and make sure you are comfortable with the stated terms and conditions. Your agent should be able to help you out if have any concerns or questions.
Once you are sure, sign and submit the tenancy contract along with rent cheques and the agency commission to the agent. Ask for receipts for each payment that you make. The agent will then get the tenancy contract signed by the landlord and hand over the rent cheques given by you. Make sure you keep a copy of the contract and an acknowledgement receipt with you. One copy of the contract is usually handed to the landlord and one is given to the tenant.
The agent subsequently hands over the keys and access cards to you after you sign an acknowledgement form clearly listing everything you’ve received. A handover contract is also often signed.
THINGS TO CONSIDER
There are a few things one should consider before making a final decision about renting in Dubai.
- Make sure all service charges have been settled by the landlord before you move in. Your agent should be able to check this and get it in writing.
- If there are any maintenance issues, make sure they are fixed before you move in.
- Check access points in the building and make sure you receive the necessary swipe cards and keys.
- The landlord should ideally hand over the property in a livable condition. If that is not the case, ask for your apartment or villa to be cleaned before you move in.
- Check if the facilities in your apartment building are in working condition and make sure you can avail everything mentioned in the contract or by the broker/landlord.
Another thing to remember is, you can always file for a rent dispute in Dubai, in case of any inconvenience caused by the landlord.
REGISTER TENANCY CONTRACT WITH EJARI
Once you have signed the contract, you or your agent will need to register it with Ejari. This is the third most important step in your guide to renting in Dubai in order for the contract to be a legally acceptable document in the emirate. Ejari registration process is fairly straightforward.
You’ll need to head to any typing centre with your documents or do it online via the official website. Make sure the deposits, contract duration and rent amounts are clearly stated in your Ejari.
The documents required for registration are:
- Original tenancy contract
- Title deed (from landlord)
- Tenant and landlord’s passport copies
- Copy of tenant’s Emirates ID
Once you sign your tenancy contract in Dubai, the next step is getting the water and electricity connection. For this, tenants in Dubai have to apply for a Dubai Water & Electricity Authority connection. Here is what you would need for a new connection.
- DEWA premise number (usually on the side of the property building)
- Ejari number
- Landlord’s passport copy
- Your passport copy & Emirates ID
- Completed DEWA form (collected at DEWA)
- Security deposit payment
The online DEWA application is much quicker and involves filling the form stating the Ejari number, Emirates ID number and your passport number. Pay the deposit amount through DEWA’s online payment gateway and the service will be activated within 24 hours of registration and payment.
A refundable security deposit of AED 2,000 for an apartment and AED 4,000 for a villa sill also have to be paid. Activation charges are AED 100 for small meter and AED 300 for large meters. Furthermore, an amount of AED 30 has to be paid for registration, knowledge and innovation fee.
Tip: Remember to check for outstanding DEWA or air-conditioning bills for the apartment or villa. Your agent can find this out and make sure it is paid before you set up your own DEWA account.
Some popular communities in Dubai require tenants to procure a move-in permit before occupying their dream apartment or villa. These are generally available on the developer’s website and take up to 5 days to process. Make sure you ask your real estate agent or landlord if this is required and apply for the permit on time to avoid delays.
Some communities that require a move-in permit include Downtown Dubai, Arabian Ranches, The Springs, The Meadows, Dubai Marina, Emirates Hills and The Greens. Those moving to projects developed by Emaar can read our post on how to get Emaar move-in permits.
You would require the following documents for this process.
- Passport Copy / Emirates ID
- Certificate of Completion of Payment
- Copy of the Tenancy Contract
- Copy of the unit’s most recent Service Charge Receipt (by the landlord)
After your move-in permit comes through, you’re all set to move into your home and start a new chapter of your life in Dubai!
While it may seem like a daunting task, the process of renting in Dubai is fairly simple if you follow the steps mentioned above. Know what you’re looking for and work with a competent real estate agent who knows the market and can help you out at every step. There are hundreds of listings for apartments and villas for rent in Dubai on Bayut, so rest assured that you’ll have plenty of beautiful homes to choose from once you get here.
Take a look at our comprehensive guides for expats moving from India to Dubai or moving from the UK, to help you transition smoothly. Most expats moving from other countries also have to go through similar procedures. You can start by looking at some of the most popular buildings to rent in Dubai or. If you prefer larger spaces at a relatively lower rate, consider areas to find a villa for rent in Dubai. There are different types of properties in Dubai which you can consider.
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