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Co-living options emerge as third pillar in Dubai's residential rental space. And these days, it's finding some heavy takers too. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: Newcomers setting themselves in Dubai are choosing to sign up for the third option – co-living – to take care of their residential requirements. At least for the short-term, ranging up to 90 days or slightly longer.

More properties and buildings are advertising such co-living choices, targeting first-timers settling in Dubai. ‘Regulated’ co-living is also finding enough takers, market sources say, even though the rental amount is at a premium.

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Thus, co-living has been carving up a niche within a space that’s dominated by the full-year leasing contracts and the short-term let where the entire property is taken. In co-living, the lease applies, of course, only to a ‘shared’ space within a unit.

Some of the listings – in upscale towers and set in prime locations – are asking for around Dh4,000 a month.

Easy in, easy out

The biggest benefit obviously is the flexibility offered to tenants. “Tenants should expect to pay a deposit - often one month’s rent - and there may be a minimum length of stay, such as a 3-month minimum stay, after which tenants can leave at any time by providing 30-day notice,” said Nia Gaskin, Senior Leasing Consultant at Betterhomes.

"Often, there are very few conditions for co-living spaces, which are designed to offer tenants as much flexibility as possible," said Gaskin. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

That works out just fine for those choosing co-living, which is essentially a defined number of – unrelated - people sharing a dwelling unit. (The landlord will have to get the clearance and adhere to the conditions set by the Dubai Land Department/RERA. In fact, a handful of developers have already built dedicated co-living properties, which also indicates the demand that’s there in the market.)

“Co-living spaces have been growing in popularity thanks to the flexibility and convenience they offer tenants,” said Nia. “These are typically fully furnished apartments with access to communal amenities like workspaces, roof terraces, pools and gyms.”

Rental deals

Tenants make one month payments that would typically include all rent and bills, with the flexibility that they can end their tenancy at any time with just one month’s notice.

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“This can be a popular option for young professionals relatively new to Dubai, who perhaps aren’t sure of their long-term plans or want to be locked into a yearly contract,” said Nia.

Comes at a premium

“Tenants should expect to pay a premium for the convenience of a co-living space when compared to the cost of a similar long-term rental,” she added. “However, where many landlords like the annual rent to be paid in one, two or four cheques, co-living spaces allow tenants to pay their rent in monthly instalments.

“So, whilst opting for a co-living space might be more expensive overall, the cash-flow advantages (for the tenant) could make sense to some people.”

Developers who have ventured into this space say that they usually lease out to employees of a particular company, who prefer to be within easy distance of their offices. Now, the developers add, the main take up is from new residents in the city, using co-living to get a feel of their new workplace, the city and all that it has to offer.

“I don’t think the Dubai property market has seen the full potential of what co-living rental options can offer,” said a developer source. “Of course, developers are waiting for a bigger new resident base to build before launching more co-living rentals. That demand can well happen almost instantly – they just need to look at the resident profile who are settling down in Dubai right now.”