Marina Square Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque

Dubai residents love to travel. And while they do, their apartments are locked up for a few weeks every year. If you own a home in Dubai, you could get 50 per cent more rent money — legally — with just a few strings attached.

Enter Airbnb.

While Airbnb had been active in Dubai for years, it had long operated in a legal grey area. The new rules brought in by Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) allow property owners to list their properties on the site.

However, since April last year, landlords have legally been able to cut out the middleman and list their property directly on home sharing giant Airbnb.

Tenants also have the option to sublet their rented homes — but only if the landlord agrees.

Note: The DTCM, the Dubai body that regulates homes listed on Airbnb, did not return a request for comment for this article. Despite the April rules giving power to landlords in Dubai, it is not clear whether it is legal to list property in the other six emirates on Airbnb.

Airbnb in Dubai: Here’s what you need to know

- Listing a single property on Airbnb requires the owner to get a permit from the DTCM.

- Follow this link to the DTCM’s online platform: https://hh.dtcm.gov.ae/holidayhomes/ and go through the steps given on the portal — there are quite a few.

- You’ll next have to visit the DTCM in Al Garhoud during business hours on working days. Don’t forget to bring a copy of your Emirates ID.

- You can then upload your property and relevant documents on the DTCM platform.

- If you’re a tenant, make sure to get a letter of no-objection from the landlord.

- You’ll also need to purchase insurance for your home.

- Bear in mind you have pay Dh1,520 to activate your account with the DTCM’s online platform. There’s also a Dh300 fee for each bedroom in your property, and a Dh70 management fee.

- The DTCM rules allow only a full home to be rented out.

- Failure to register your properties with the DTCM will leave you liable for a Dh5,000 fine.

- Then, the owner must create a profile for the property on Airbnb with a description and photos. Then, the owner has to stay active on the site to answer enquiries.

- When a booking is made, the new occupant will have to be given the key and building access cards, and a number to call in case things need fixing.

- Make sure to get passport copies of each guest and submit them to the DTCM.

- With every booking, the owner must also take a passport scan from the occupants and send it to the DTCM. A tax from guests also has to be paid to the department.

- As long as you haven’t skipped any steps, you’re good to go.

(Tips courtesy of Ameer Jawad, the founder of Faraway Homes, a Dubai-based holiday homes firm)