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Dubai: Before looking for property listings online, you may want to note down the costs you should consider so that finding the right villa or apartment will be easier.

Here are five important changes you should keep in mind before you make a deal with your landlord to move in.


Ejari is a registration system for residential and commercial leases by Dubai’s Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera).

Once you have registered your lease contract through the Ejari system, the process will connect you to the following processes:

• Getting water and electricity connection through Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa)
Apply for residence visas for dependents 
• Sponsoring domestic staff

Also, your Ejari contract is up for renewal, just like your tenancy contract. The registration fee for Ejari is Dh220. To learn more about the Ejari process, click here.



After registering your Ejari, you will be eligible to apply for a Dewa connection. Besides paying for activation charges, you will also need to pay a security deposit.

After registering for a Dewa connection, you will receive a ‘welcome’ email with a link to pay the security deposit. By clicking on the link, you can pay DEWA Security Deposit online.


• If you have a villa, the security deposit will cost you Dh4,000
• If you have an apartment, the security deposit will cost you Dh2,000.

Housing fee

You may not easily recognise this fee, but you can find it on your Dewa bill. Dubai Municipality imposes housing fees equivalent to five per cent of the rent as per the rent contract. The Dubai Housing fee is a charge you must pay when you own or rent a property in Dubai.

This is how the formula for your housing fee is calculated:

• Calculate your annual rent into the housing fee stated on the Dewa bill divided by 12.

To understand where you can find this fee, read our guide here.

Agent commission

When you are on your house hunting mission, you must pay your real estate agent a commission. However, there is a lot of ambiguity on the exact percentage of the commission fee for agents in Dubai.

As reported by Gulf News in 2020, Ahmed Elnaggar, managing partner at Abu Dhabi-based Elnaggar Legal Advisors Limited clarified that there is no maximum or minimum commission stipulated in the law for brokerage fees. This is a subject that is to be regulated contractually.

Another crucial aspect you should remember when finding an apartment or villa is to deal with a real estate agency or brokerage registered by RERA.

You can find the list of licenced real estate agents in Dubai through this link here: https://dubailand.gov.ae/en/eservices/licensed-real-estate-brokers/licensed-real-estate-brokers-list/#/

Cooling fees

Before setting your sights on a particular home, it is important to know the chiller service charges. Depending on your landlord or property developer, you will face two options: chiller-free or district cooling.

If you are looking for an apartment, you may come across a property listing advertising ‘chiller free’? This means the residential unit has a central air conditioning unit, and the property management company will cover the monthly costs. You will not pay for air conditioning when you get your monthly Dewa bill.

Another option is district cooling. District cooling also referred to as a chiller service, is typically used in high-rise buildings, where electricity is consumed. Regular water or seawater is cooled in a central plant and passed along underground pipelines around the district.

You can only get district cooling in a select number of neighbourhoods in Dubai.