For most people living in Dubai, rent is seen as the most expensive single-ticket item on the monthly budget that needs to be carefully considered. It is always advisable to rent at a level within your means, so that settling your rent you still maintain a positive cash flow. With the current burgeoning supply of properties, potential tenants have a wide variety of apartments or villas to choose from to suite their particular budget. Besides budget, most people usually consider the size of the family, lifestyle, place of work and distance from school.
On a more personal note some tenants may prioritise units offering a balcony/terrace, good views, adequate parking, a well-equipped gym and swimming pool as well as a children’s play area. According to ValuStrat research, the average expected rent for a one-bedroom apartment in International City would be around Dh39,000 per year, while a one-bedder in Uptown Motor City would be Dh65,000 and in Dubai Marina around Dh90,000. For those with a small family a three-bedroom villa in Town Square would be in the region of Dh110,000 per year, in Jumeirah Village Dh132,0000 and in Jumeirah Park around Dh188,000.
In refining the search, one needs to consider important issues primary to the family such as proximity to amenities, schools, universities, groceries, medical facilities, parks and recreational facilities and places of leisure as cost of travel and time assigned to the daily commute can be exhausting and costly.
For newcomers it is essential to orientate yourself geographically and get to know your transport routes and connectivity. Get to know the quickest routes, peak traffic times and most likely times for traffic congestion.
With a number of new off-plan projects currently under construction in preparation for 2020 it may be prudent to be aware of continued road works or infrastructure upgrades resulting in detours, which could be inconvenient and time consuming if commuting on a daily basis. Be observant as no one wants to live with the noise of ongoing construction.
Research your area and know what similar properties are renting for and if they are furnished or unfurnished; the number of vacancies and if there is a glut of availability. Try and establish if there are more people moving into the area than moving away.
A quick checklist may include: terms and conditions of the payment and the number of post-dated cheques required, the deposit and the penalty should you wish to prematurely terminate the contract. One would also have to settle the broker’s commission if any. Securing an Ejari (registered rental contract) is absolutely essential , preferably through a registered broker. The Dubai Land Department will have a list of approved brokers.
The new tenant is usually responsible for utility connections and provision needs to be made for deposits for the electricity and water connections as well as internet, if these are not included in the monthly rental. Using an internet café could be a temporary solution. It is always advisable to secure a low-maintenance home to keep monthly outgoings and operational costs to a minimum. A large garden and swimming pool will be high maintenance. Know who is responsible regarding the level and extent of maintenance and check if the building or development is well managed by the homeowners’ association.
It is always a good idea to know at the outset if the landlord allows pets.
There are also rent-to-own options in Dubai now. This offering is available from a small group of developers in areas such as the Green Community, Motor City, Dubai South and Dubailand.
Good luck in finding your new home and remember our homes are a place of refuge and reflection and help to create a healthy work-life balance, so choose well.
Haider Tuaima is head of real estate research at ValuStrat. The views expressed here are his own.