Renting in Dubai 2022: Here are six responsibilities every tenant should follow
From essential costs and additional expenses to connections that you need to activate. All your rights and responsibility as per the rental laws. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: Moving to the UAE? This comprehensive guide will equip you to find your dream apartment and navigate the legalities of renting in the country.

How do I start house-hunting in the UAE?
If you are new to the UAE, you may be wondering how you can start house-hunting. While checking online platforms for listings is helpful, if you are seeking the assistance of an agent, always make sure they are registered with the real estate regulatory authority in the emirate. You can ask your agent to provide their licence number or use the online portal here to verify:
It is also important to check if the building is pet-friendly in case you are planning to live with a pet. Even if the building allows pets, always enquire about any additional rules that you may need to abide by and what your rights and responsibilities are as a pet owner.

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Budget and costs: Initial payments and security deposits

Once you have found the perfect property, there are some upfront costs you need to consider, apart from the annual rent.

For example, you would need to put in a security deposit with the landlord, which is normally five per cent of the rent, and pay for the lease registration. If you are in Dubai, this process is referred to as ‘Ejari’, in Abu Dhabi the registration process is called ‘Tawtheeq’. Regardless of which emirate you are living in, you would need to register the tenancy contract with the real estate regulatory authority in the emirate.

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Extra costs to budget for

When applying for the electricity and water connection, a deposit is also needed for activating the connection with the electricity and water authority in your emirate.

If your area has a district cooling company overseeing the air-conditioning connection or ‘chiller service’, you will need to separately apply for that connection as well.

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Do you know how to read your contract?
While many people rent apartments in the UAE, they may not be aware of all the details that are mentioned in the tenancy contract. Did you know that all your rights and responsibilities, including who pays for which aspect of the living arrangement (maintenance, parking etc.) are mentioned in different parts of your tenancy contract. When you do sign your contract, make sure you give it a thorough read. Always keep your contract copy safely at home and if you do need to refer to it in an instant, you can always access it online, too.

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What does the rent include? (Utilities, maintenance fees, etc.)

When it comes to the maintenance of the apartment, which may be required due to general wear and tear, the payment responsibility typically falls on the landlord. Even chiller fees may at times be covered by the landlord, in case they promoted the lease as ‘chiller free’. However, you should make sure that the contract that you sign clearly states that the district cooling services would be free of charge and, if so, for how many years.

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Do I need to pay to use the facilities in the apartment complex or community?

In Dubai, the rental law - Law No. 26 of 2007 – states that the rent will cover use of the real property amenities such as swimming pools, playgrounds, gymnasiums, health clubs, car parks, and other amenities, unless otherwise agreed upon. So, you should once again ensure that you read the contract carefully to confirm which facilities you may not be entitled to use.

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Are there any restrictions on subletting?

Yes, you can, but you need to make sure you get the landlord’s written consent and that you do not make any changes to the apartment for the purposes of subleasing without the landlord’s permission, either

In fact, you can even put up the apartment as a short-term rental on platforms like Airbnb, by getting your landlord’s written consent and applying for a licence for a short-term rental.

How long is the tenancy period? (Lease term)

The tenancy period typically lasts one year and is clearly mentioned on your rental contract.

How much can the rent increase by?

When renting an apartment, it is natural to think about any increase in expenses that you may face. In Dubai, rent increases are regulated and you can refer to the rental index to find out how much of an increase you should expect at the time of renewal. In other emirates, you can contact the real estate regulatory authority there to check if there are any caps on how much the rent can be increased by.

How much notice is required for rent increase?

In Dubai, any increase in the rent – or any other changes to the agreement in the rental contract – needs to be communicated by your landlord to you at least three months before the rent is due to expire. This would give you sufficient time to make any alternative living arrangements in case the rent is increased beyond your budget.

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How does contract renewal work?

Every year, you will need to renew your rental contract. For a step-by-step guide on how you can renew your rental contract in each emirate, click here.

I want to move out – what should I do?

Before you plan your move, look at your tenancy contract to find out what the clauses are in case of early termination or non-renewal. Even if you are moving right when your tenancy contract ends, the contract may have certain requirements on the notice period you need to serve. If you are ending your contract before completion, you may need to pay a few months’ rent as well.

How do I get my security deposit back?

You would also need to apply for a return of the security deposit. Read our tips to ensure you get your security deposit back here. Once you have spoken to your current landlord, as well as the new one, you can go ahead and plan the next steps.

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While your landlord will cancel the Ejari, you need to deactivate your water and electricity connection, or transfer it to your new place.