Dubai: You’ve found a job, now you need to find a place to live. A place to call home. The UAE has everything on offer from a mansion to a studio, it is all available based on your lifestyle and budget choices.
The great thing about the country, no community or area is unsafe, so the choices are varied.
So, let’s start. Whether you are looking for an apartment or villa, what do you need to do?
5 things you need to consider first
Budget – How much of your household income would you like to allocate to rent?
Transport – Do you plan to drive, use public transport to get back and forth?
Facilities – Are you looking for a gym and pool on the premises?
Community – What/which is the neighbourhood you are looking for? Is it more for families or single people?
Amenities – Is easy physical access to supermarkets and eateries important to you?
Rank them according to priority for you. And that will help you make a final decision.
Look for property listings, there are several in the UAE including print and digital. You can also check with individual buildings, speak to the concierge, and community boards in supermarkets.
There are several websites that act as aggregators for properties to be leased directly from the landlord or via a registered broker.
On most of these sites, you can place your budget and the number of rooms as a filter, to narrow down your search.
But, an important point to remember is that a major chunk of your expenses are going to be for rent. For many it constitutes about 30 to 40% of their household budget. So, putting in that filter is imperative.
A lot of single people including young couples opt for studio or one-bedroom apartments in a location that they feel is more accessible to public transport facilities, restaurants, parks and malls. But, if you are in for a splurge, there are four-and five-bedroom houses available, too.
When renting a house for the first time it is important to set up a site visit with your real estate agent. It is best to set it up on a weekend, will help you get a better idea of the vibe of the area.
Try and be there at least an hour earlier, so you can spend time walking around the neighbourhood. You could even talk to a few people, including neighbours. People are usually happy to have a short conversation.
Once you actually see the apartment to rent, you must check for the following:
- The security system such as cameras, security guard and an intercom
- The state of the apartment – tiles, air conditioning, kitchen chimney, water faucet, etc.
- Check on the maintenance available – is it by the landlord or the tenant?
- Check if the water tanks are cleaned every six months.
- Are the rooms spacious enough? Take a measuring tape along, it will help you when you furnish the apartment.
- Check for parking facilities
- Most places now offer gym and swimming pool facilities. But, find out if it is clean and well maintained.
- And, most importantly, ensure that your real estate agent is registered with the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA). Ask for their broker number.
Once you are happy with all this, you have to negotiate the annual rent. Bargaining is acceptable. So, do not hesitate to push.
Some landlords will lower the rent if you agree to pay with fewer cheques.
You also have the option of furnished and unfurnished, which might save the cost of buying a washing machine, microwave and cooking range.
You also need to find out if the route to your workplace is manageable and doesn’t get traffic clogged when you travel. So, test the route a few times.
And, finally if you have a pet or plan to get a rescued dog or cat, check with the landlord and building/villa owner/management.
Tenancy contracts are on an annual basis, so spend some time weighing all your options. Cancelling a contract before completion could incur losses for you.
If you’re unsure, you can always look for short-term rentals instead, such as hotel apartments.
Reserve the villa or apartment you wish to rent by paying the security deposit.
To reserve the property, you will need to pay a refundable security deposit (usually one month’s rent) written out to your landlord.
If you back out of the deal for any reason, the security deposit amount will be retained by the landlord.
Documents required to start the tenancy contract process:
- Passport copy
- Residence Visa copy
Take pictures of the vacant property in order to claim the security deposit amount in full at the end of your tenancy contract. Ask for a receipt once you make the security deposit payment. Retain this.
Please get a copy of the Title Deed of the property, you will need it for Ejari in Dubai.
And ensure that all pending service charges on the property have been settled, especially when it comes to gated communities. Otherwise, you might not get services such as garbage clearance.
Following the security deposit payment, your agent will share the tenancy contract with you. Check it and submit the tenancy contract along with the rent cheques and the agent’s payment. Ask for receipts, always. The tenancy contract will be signed by the landlord and you will be given a copy of the same, along with house keys, access cards and anything else required.
Once you have your tenancy contract in hand, you need to register with Ejari.
Every tenant and landlord must get their rental and lease contracts registered through Ejari, an electronic registration system accessible through the web. This regulatory system is established to protect the rights of everyone involved in rental deals: https://ejari.gov.ae/
Upon completion of the registration process, the applicant will receive the Ejari Attestation made of three parts:
Ejari tenancy contract: This part represents the transposition of your private Rental Agreement (tenancy contract) into a standard format accepted by Ejari.
Ejari registration certificate: This part is the evidence that a rental agreement was successfully entered into the Ejari information system and thus giving the terms of the contract legal validity.
Abu Dhabi uses a system called Tawtheeq. It is the city’s register for tenancy contracts. The system applies to anyone involved in renting a property within Abu Dhabi city or surrounding areas, and is in place to protect and support both parties. If you’re a tenant, and once your tenancy contract is legally registered, Abu Dhabi municipality will set up your water and electricity accounts for you
Ejari fees payment receipt: This part bears the receipt issued after the payment of the Ejari government fees and typing service charges to RERA.
Here is a step-by-step process on how to process your contract via Ejari: Renting a house in Dubai learn how Ejar works
Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah
This applies to Dubai, and Sharjah, too, which follows a similar Ejari system. Following that you can set up your water and electricity.
Abu Dhabi uses a system called Tawtheeq. It is the city’s register for tenancy contracts.
The system applies to anyone involved in renting a property within Abu Dhabi city or surrounding areas, and is in place to protect and support both parties. If you’re a tenant, and once your tenancy contract is legally registered, Abu Dhabi municipality will set up your water and electricity accounts for you.
Tawtheeq uses technology to simplify the rental process and make it easier for landlords and tenants to deal with each other. Its main aim is to regulate the local real estate market.
The system saves everyone concerned time and effort too, as the systems are linked. Once you’re registered with Tawtheeq, your water and electricity accounts with ADDC (Abu Dhabi Distribution Co.) will be set up for you so there’s no need to send a separate moving in application.
You can apply through the Abu Dhabi Municipality website by completing the Tawtheeq E-form. Click the link for more information about how to set up Tawtheeq: https://mservices.dma.abudhabi.ae
If you prefer to register in person, you can visit the Customer Service Centre at the Municipality of Abu Dhabi City (Head Office), or one of the Municipality’s affiliated external centres or customer service outlets.
Documents needs to register include your passport, a copy of it, Emirates ID and a copy of the signed rental contract.