Burj Al Arab in Dubai. Image Credit: Megan Hirons Mahon, Gulf News

Is it legal for me to become an Airbnb host?

Yes, you can now become a host on Airbnb in the UAE and earn some money on the side.

Which emirates can I host people in?

You can only do this if your home is in Dubai or Ras Al Khaimah — the other emirates haven’t sanctioned the home-hosting service yet.

What if I don't own my home?

You can rent your home out even if you're a tenant and don't already own the house. Home owners or tenants still need to register the property through Dubai Tourism’s Holiday Homes provision to be able to host short-term guests in Dubai.

In this guide, we take you through the process of how you could sublet or lease out homes on a short-term basis without going through an approved Dubai Tourism holiday homes operator — but legally through Airbnb.

The system is implemented to ensure that homeowners/sub-letters meet all the quality standards, codes of conduct, amenities, safety, health and insurance benchmarks that the hospitality sector of the UAE is known for. The new regulations only allow lease of complete residential units; sharing of standalone rooms is still illegal.

For home owners: Here are your steps to follow

• Create an online account on the official Holiday Homes website — https://hh.dtcm.gov.ae/holidayhomes

• Select ‘Home Owner’ for registration type and register yourself as the manager for the property. You can also assign a suitable third-party as manager.

• Upload a valid Emirates ID scanned copy and/or passport copy

• Within two to three business days, your account request will be processed and you will be contacted for further procedures.

• Head to the Dubai Tourism office, submit required documents and pay Dh1,590 to start your approval process. This amount includes an annual registration fee (Dh1,520), classification fee (Dh50) as Standard or Deluxe, Knowledge Fee (Dh10) and Innovation Fee (Dh10). In addition to this, you will have to pay a license fee of Dh300 per bedroom in your apartment for the term of the rental (three months to a year).

• You have to submit a copy of your title deed and Ejari registration proof, apart from other required documents.

• After approval, the owner will get his own username and account as an approved holiday home provider.

• Get your final license (at a cost starting at Dh300 per room) depending on the number of rooms and term to register your property. You can use the same account to get separate permits for multiple units, if you own the homes.

Home-owners are responsible for the standards of the accommodation and amenities. The property is self-classified as Standard or Deluxe but expect regular inspection by Dubai Tourism to ensure quality standards.

For tenants: What you need to do

Tenants follow the same processes with minor changes.

• Tenants need a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from their home owners along with an authorisation letter from the owner.

• Tenants cannot sublet more than one complete residential unit at a time (sharing of rooms is illegal).

• The tenancy contract copy, Ejari registration proof and Dewa bills need to be submitted along with the authorisation letter from the owner.

• Contact Dubai Tourism at +971 600 55 5559 for all your queries. For Ras Al Khaimah, contact RAKTDA (Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority) at +971 (0)7 233 8998

There are some responsibilities that come with being a good house host. Here are some key things to bear in mind:

Reasonable prices

Research homes like yours and others in the area the home is located at. Also account for the amenities such as a gym or a pool, the view, other services and accessibility to interesting areas in the city. Set a reasonable price after considering all of these and your costs.

Be available

Before booking and during your guests’ stay, be available and responsive. You should maintain a high response rate by replying to booking enquiries or reservation requests within a day. Try your level best to not cancel reservations that you have already accepted as this may foil your guests’ travel plans.

Be informative

As a guest looking for a holiday home, information is key. Post as many photos as possible showcasing the highlights of your apartment or unit. Be descriptive of what you will offer in your listing. Once the booking is done, make sure you send across details including services, house rules (if any), appliance use instructions, pet conditions, check-in and checkout details, and anything that’s relevant to an incoming guest. You could also send in a recommendation list of must-do things across the country.

Essential amenities and services

Provide basic amenities such as toilet paper, soap, linens/sheets, and at least one towel and pillow per booked guest. Also ensure that you have extras of all of these in case your guests need them. Guests nowadays love to stay in places with free Wi-Fi, so having a strong network helps make your home more appealing in addition to everything else. Adaptors are another helpful addition to tourists from outside the region.

Share local tips

As a resident, you may have titbits of information that are useful to every visitor to the country. For example, help your guests get the best value of their trip to Dubai using the metro and bus services. One tip could be that taking a metro card (costs just Dh6) is less expensive that getting a trip ticket for every metro ride (costs at least 20 per cent higher per trip in comparison to riding with a card). Share your recommendations of places to visit or dine at. Help them enjoy the best of your home and this country.

Disclaimer: These steps are to be used as a guide only. Gulf News is not responsible for any amendments to this process. For detailed information on your home, contact Dubai Tourism directly.