Why was I charged Dh5,000 for filing a rental dispute?
What to do when you want a reduction in rent after you see rates dropping in your area

Dubai: If you were looking to possibly alter your rental contract at least 90 days prior to the expiration of the contract, the key is to prepare before hand.

While ensuring you do your homework regarding the price by visiting property portals such as Property Finder and Bayut, which will give you a fair idea on the price range of what is currently available on the market - such websites also give trends regarding property prices for rent in their blogs.

Now ​that you are able to come up with a reasonable rent to reflect current prices​​​​​​, when organising a face-to-face meeting with your landlord, keep in mind that it is important that you have a bit of room left in your negotiations.

One of the biggest pandemic-induced lessons that confronts residents is how to cost-effectively meet their next rental payment.

UAE residents eye lower rents to save more

One of the biggest pandemic-induced lessons that confronts residents is how to cost-effectively meet their next rental payment. Rent accounts for the biggest financial commitment for the majority of expats in the UAE.

Real estate experts insist that it is best to be transparent with your landlord about any change in your financial or job circumstances.

Although UAE landlords are not legally obliged to accept your rent relief request, some of them are being reasonable if the tenant can furnish proof of change in circumstances from the employer.

If your lease is up for renewal - what to do?

Meanwhile, if your lease is up for renewal, check current market rents for comparable properties on the above-mentioned portals. Your landlord must match this rent and tenants can ask for between 30 and 60 days rent free.

Property experts view that if you have been a steady tenant, the landlord has a good incentive to match rents advertised on portals and throw in a few months as rent-free, while adding that landlords ensure to retain good tenants and therefore 1 to 2 months’ rent free is not an unreasonable ask.

Renegotiation of rent contract
Renegotiation of rent contract Image Credit: Stock image

Although property portals provide real-time rental price data, don’t go by the cheapest listing advertised, instead consider something equivalent to the unit you are currently staying in or looking to rent next.

While experts add that there is a 5 to 7 percent flexibility on property prices listed on portals, also consider the listed price for a property with similar specifications to get a fairly good idea of how much to negotiate with your landlord.

The rent guidance on the Real Estate Regulatory Agency’s rental calculator is done only once a year and the rates shown are for an area in general.

Here are 6 expert recommendations on how to negotiate your house rent with the landlord

Prospective tenants should do as much research as possible, property consultants reiterate, while adding that you need to know the community and get a clear idea of the area you wish to live in before contacting a broker.

Also check comparable unit prices on property portals. Moreover, seek to extend lease by another year and if you are a long-standing tenant, ask for at least a couple of rent-free months in the lease.

Agreement signing
Here are 6 expert recommendations on how to negotiate your house rent with the landlord

Tip #1 - Consider non-financial concessions: If your lease is expiring soon, you can, instead, opt for flexible monthly rentals. If a landlord insists on maintaining the rent they have quoted, tenants can ask for other incentives such as a fee waiver on commissions, rent-free periods, more cheque payments and longer contracts during negotiations.

Tip #2 Seek other concessions: Discounts and allowances on rent can also be requested. Although the standard rent contracts are for 12 months, you can negotiate or ask for an additional one to three-month rent-free period. This rent-free period is reasonable to average out your rent value. Landlords, rather than waiting and keeping a property vacant, accept giving the benefit to a tenant of a rent-free period so that the renter moves in and the landlord can receive his rent payment earlier.

Tip #3 Request for utility coverage: Some landlords also offer an all-inclusive rent, which includes utilities. You can negotiate a contract that includes either all or a certain ‘capped’ amount included in the rent. This is a viable option for tenants that prefer not to register the utilities in their name or pay deposits to the utility service providers.

Tip #4 - Request for appliances, furniture or upgrades: Experts recommend negotiating rents with products being included, such as furniture appliances. This helps tenants to save money on new appliances and furniture. If you are renting partially furnished or furnished properties, ask the landlord to include additional furniture or other items, such as a refrigerator or a washing machine or maybe an upgrade in the property that can add value.

Stock Rental contract
If you are ready to move in to the property quickly, you can use it to negotiate with your landlord.

Tip #5 - Negotiate with fewer cheques: If your landlord is unwilling to negotiate on rent, you can negotiate on the payment mode or number of cheques. If you can afford to pay for the full year in advance, the landlord is more likely to accept a lower price. If you want to pay in several cheques, the landlord may demand a higher amount depending on their cash flow situation.

Tip #6 - Start looking at properties closer to your move date: If you are ready to move in to the property quickly, you can use it to negotiate with your landlord. Experts ecommend that you start your search two to four weeks before your move-in date to make sure the property you view is available at the time.