Downtown Dubai
Downtown Dubai Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Under the terms of sales and purchase agreements (SPAs) with property buyers, master-developers can enforce any action they deem fit for the greater good of the community. Based on this legal interpretation, Emaar can require property owners not to offer short-term leases within Downtown, citing disturbances for long-term residents from neighbouring apartments being rented for short-term stays.

But, legal sources say, issuing licenses allowing property owners to offer short-term leases is decided by DTCM (Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing). “This can be a grey area depending on the interpretation of the SPA and the rights of the licensing authority,” said a lawyer.


The extremely short nature given to holiday home operators to cease all leasing of Downtown properties for short stays is what is hurting them the most. By September 19, all such leasing has to stop, as per Emaar’s requirements.

This will force operators who have made bookings for that week to connect with clients and have them put up elsewhere. Some are dreading the fallout of leaving many clients without a suitable solution.

“The Downtown remains the most popular destination of choice now - and our properties are getting 99 per cent favourable ratings on booking sites,” said an owner at one such operator. “There are tourists who have made bookings for the coming 12 months - they will now be notified that an accommodation at the Downtown is not available. They will seek compensation for that.

“Property investors too will seek damages, as they didn’t do anything wrong. And they had the permission to operate in Dubai as per the law.”

Using the pool and gym

Some owners associations (OA) have complaints that the sort-term stay guests end up using the pool and gym… but would not have paid for the services.

But property owners leasing on short-term say that all service-related charges are paid directly by them, each year. “I pay more than a million for my units at the Downtown - that’s a million a year,” one of them said. “Since I do that, no one should expect the guests who stay at my units to pay for the pool or gym. It’s not a valid argument what OAs say.”