Dubai: As a Dubai resident, you may have come across the term “Ejari” in the context of tenancy agreements. Here's everything you need to know about the system.
What does 'Ejari' mean?
Simply put, it means “my rent” in Arabic. It is the government’s registration system for residential and commercial leases aged less than 10 years.
Why is it mandatory for tenancy?
Under Dubai’s Landlord and Tenant Laws, all properties must be registered at Dubai’s Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera).
Since March 1, 2017 a pre-requisite for registration has been that a standard form ejari contract is entered into between the parties to a lease. While this standard form is compulsory, it is possible for the parties to agree to supplement its terms and conditions.
The registration requirement and the subsequent standard form is considered as positive steps in Dubai’s transition towards a fully developed business hub and provides tenants with further protection and security in their properties, as well as allowing the authorities to record lease transactions.
In simple words, Ejari can help tenants and landlords get legal security and protection during the contract period while also allowing the government to keep tabs on the number of rental agreements being entered into in the emirate.
Why should you register?
1. It is legally compulsory
It is mandatory for every lease in Dubai to be registered, whether commercial or residential.
2. It guarantees rights
The registration safeguards the rights of all parties to a tenancy contract.
Once the tenancy contract is registered, its validity is accepted by all government agencies, providing protection to landlords and management companies, as well as their tenants, regarding the enforcement of terms of each tenancy contract.
The standard ejari contract also ensures that key commercial terms, such as rental amount, payment terms and duration, are clear. The ejari contract also serves as an official record of the agreed rent, making it difficult for landlords to circumvent Dubai’s rental cap regulations by indiscriminately increasing the rent on renewal.
Judicial bodies such as the Dubai Court’s Rent Disputes Settlement Centre (known as the Rent Committee) is not able to hear any action or claim based on a lease unless that lease has been registered at Rera.
3. Helps with utility connections
The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) requires tenancy contracts to be registered on Ejari, in order to connect electricity and water services. You will only be able to activate electricity and water services as soon as you have the unique Ejari number, which is obtained once the tenancy contract is logged into the Ejari system.
4. Incorporation of entity
Ejari is usually required to complete the incorporation of companies or establish a branch in the mainland of Dubai, and for the future when renewing any trade licences of such entities.
5. Visa application
You will require Ejari registration for the purposes of obtaining a UAE sponsorship in Dubai, in terms of both new applications and renewals.
How to register and cost
The responsibility to register with Ejari is both with the tenant and the landlord, but in most cases, it is the real estate agent or the tenant who completes the process and meets the Ejari fees.
You can register either through one of the approved typing centres or online through the Ejari portal. Large-scale landlords and letting agents will often have access to the online portal.
The Ejari registration fee is currently Dh220 (inclusive of VAT) if you apply through the approved centres.
If registration is carried out online through the Ejari portal, you will need to upload all copies of the necessary documents. The Ejari registration fee is currently Dh170 inclusive of VAT, for online registration.
Documents needed to register Ejari
• Previous Ejari (for renewal)
• Tenant’s passport, UAE visa and Emirates ID
• Tenancy contract plus any supplementary contract
• Title deeds of the rented property
• Property details undertaking form
• Dewa bill (if renewal)/final bill (if new registration)
• Landlord’s passport
• For commercial entities, trade license is required
Once the Ejari registration is complete, you will receive the official Ejari contract, which comprises the main terms and conditions, an attestation acknowledging that your contract is registered with Ejari and a breakdown of your payment.
The process of Ejari registration is becoming increasingly quick and easy for landlords and tenants alike.
Peter Greatrex is a partner in the real estate and hospitality team at law firm Clyde & Co in Dubai. The views expressed here are his own.