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Any resident paying housing fee has the right to make amendment to the housing fee according to the changes in the rental value of the property Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News .

Dubai: Tenants, who managed to get their yearly rent reduced in Dubai with rents dropping in many areas during the COVID-19 pandemic, can also get their monthly housing fee cut accordingly.

Dubai Municipality (DM) has announced that it now allows the amendment of housing fee through its website. “Do you wish to amend the value of Dubai Municipality’s fee on rented or owned residential units via your monthly water and electricity bill? #DubaiMunicipality now provides this service online! Visit our website and upload the required documents,” the civic body said in a tweet on Thursday.

What is housing fee?

Housing fee in Dubai is a service fee levied on expatriates for all municipal services provided across the emirate. According to Dubai Municipality, it is not a tax but fee for various civic services such as keeping the city clean, reducing the pollution here, ensuring food safety, providing waste management services and recreational facilities like parks as well as burial ground for the community.

The fee is charged based on a local order in effect from 1962. However, Dubai Municipality started strictly implementing the fee for all expats only from 2011.

Who should pay this fee?

All expat tenants and owners of freehold residential properties must pay the fee. Dubai Municipality covered all residential units in the emirate for housing fee by 2015.

How much should they pay?

The housing fee charged for municipal services in the emirate is equivalent to five per cent of the annual rent or the rental value estimated in the area for owned properties.

Expat owners of freehold residential properties are charged five per cent of rental value of properties with similar dimensions in their areas, as estimated by the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA).

The municipality collects the fee in 12 instalments through the monthly bills of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA).

Who can amend housing fee?

“Any resident paying housing fee has the right to make amendment to the housing fee according to the changes in the rental value of the property,” a Dubai Municipality official explained to Gulf News. “The process has already been there, but the application used to be accepted over the counter at DM service centres. Now, it is available online. You just have to upload all the details and documents including the Ejari and Dewa Bill,” he said. Ejari is the tenancy contract registered with RERA.

While tenants can modify the housing fee as per the change in their rent, home owners can request for modification if the rental value in the area of their property has changed in Rera’s rental index.

How can you modify housing fee online?

The modification of housing fee is possible for leased and owned residential units by notifying the Municipality of the property’s current rental value. The service to apply for housing fee amendment comes under the ‘Dubai Municipality Fee’ section listed under ‘Individual Services’ on the municipality’s site All details related to the residential unit including the area and number of bedrooms will also have to be furnished for making the modification.

How long does it take for modification?

It takes three working days to process application for modification of housing fees if all the documents submitted are correct.

How does this service help?

The online service is offered in line with the Dubai Paperless Strategy 2021, launched by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, in February 2018, with the aim of digitising all internal and external government transactions and making them paperless. It also helps reduce physical contact during the COVID-19 pandemic situation to help prevent the spread of coronavirus infection, the municipality official said.

Paperless purchase orders

This month, the municipality also became the first government department to implement electronic receipt of all purchase orders in cooperation with the Dubai Smart Government.

What does this mean?

It means all municipal transactions for all services, expenditures, and inventory items went paperless and fully automated from January 1. “As the process will be without papers, either by the supplier or by the Municipality, there is no need to print any papers to complete the procedure,” said Syed Ismail Al Hashimi, director of Contracts and Purchasing Department at Dubai Municipality.

How is it done?

Paperless transactions are facilitated through Smart Supplier App of Smart Dubai. The app is available on Apple Store, Google Play and Huawei App Gallery.

All suppliers must provide the shipping notice to the Municipality through the app.

Upon actual supply of materials and verification of quantities and specifications by the department concerned in Dubai Municipality, the official concerned will electronically receive the details and ensure that the supplier finds the receipt updates through the app.

Once the receiving process is accepted, a receipt document will reach the supplier on his/her registered email. It can also be downloaded through the Smart Supplier App.

How does this help?

The e-system that offers paperless purchase orders is expected to save approximately 64,000 papers printed annually by the Municipality and its suppliers.

Huda Al Hashimi, director, Government Information Resource Planning Systems Department at Dubai Smart Government, said: “The launch of Dubai Municipality’s implementation of receiving paperless purchase orders through the Smart Supplier App is a significant step for the Municipality, because the Municipality represents great importance in government work, especially in various daily transactions in terms of the volume of transactions, which will certainly support Dubai’s smart efforts towards transferring all systems to be 100 per cent paperless by December 2021.”