COVID-19 has resulted in a change of financial circumstances for several UAE residents. This will result in several individuals and families either moving residence or relocating to their home country.
With some residential landlords remaining adamant about not reducing house rents, tenants are left with no choice but to move to where rents are cheaper. As most house lease renewals come up in July and August, this is typically a peak season for moving residence.
When renting a new house, you need to pay a 5 per cent refundable security deposit to the landlord and a 5 per cent referral fee to the real estate broker. Other charges to relocate a house include the cost of the actual move and the tertiary costs incurred such as utility transfer fees, move-in cleaning and maintenance costs.
People should start searching for a moving company two weeks prior to shifting house
“People should start searching for a moving company two weeks prior to shifting house. They should book the moving company one week before shifting house,” said Vijay Kumar, Founder and CEO, MoversZone LLC, an aggregator for moving services.
Cost to move house in the UAE
“The cost of moving depends on the amount of furniture you are moving, the distance you are moving (i.e. whether you are moving within the same emirate, or to another emirate) and the service levels offered by the moving company. Generally, for a move in the same emirate, the cost to move a studio is Dh800 to Dh1,000, 1-bed apartment will cost Dh1,100 to Dh1,500, a 2-bed apartment will cost Dh1,800 to Dh2,400 and for a 3-bed villa should be around Dh4,000 to Dh5,000. If it’s an inter-emirate move, the company will typically add Dh250 to Dh500 additional transportation charges on top of the cost of the move,” said Bana Shomali, Founder of Servicemarket.com.
According to MoversZone, the moving charge for a studio apartment ranges from Dh1,000 to Dh1,200, a 1-bedroom apartment costs Dh1,500, 2-bedroom apartment costs Dh2,000+, a 3-bedroom costs Dh3,000, with every extra bedroom adding around Dh1,000. These are all charges for moving within the same city.
Cost to move belongings of a 1-bedroom apartment within the same city
“Increase the moving price by 30 per cent if you are shifting from Dubai to all emirates except Sharjah. If you are moving from Dubai to Sharjah, the price will go up by 10 to 15 per cent from the same city charges. If you are moving in the same building, since no transport is involved, the cost is around 30 per cent less. If you are moving inside the same community, the price will be 15 to 20 per cent less than the same-city moving charges,” explained Kumar.
There has not been an increase in the cost of moving house during the COVID-19 crisis. In fact, many movers have been flexible in offering discounts to support customers during this time.
“The moving industry (classified under logistics, ports and shipping) are considered vital sectors by the Dubai government, and were therefore exempt from any restrictions. During the early days of the lockdown, there was a short-term dip in moving activity, largely because residents were unsure whether these services were still available. However, these days, moving activity is back to normal in terms of demand,” she added.
Cost to ship belongings to another country
Some families in the UAE are relocating to their home country in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic. The cost of shipping your belongings to another country depends on several factors, including the volume or weight of your belongings, the distance to your destination as well as the type of relocation service you choose.
“Door-to-door services are more expensive than door-to-port and port-to-port services, but with the former option, you won’t have to pack everything yourself or deal with paperwork at the customs,” explained Shomali.
Average cost to ship contents of a two-bedroom apartment by sea from the UAE
- India: Dh11,000 to Dh12,000
- UK: Dh16,000 to Dh17,000
- US: Dh21,000 to Dh22,00
- Canada: Dh20,000 to Dh21,000
- Pakistan: Dh12,000 to Dh13,000
- Saudi Arabia: Dh13,000 to Dh14,000
- Lebanon: Dh14,000 to Dh15,000
- Australia: Dh15,000 to Dh16,000
- Egypt: Dh10,000 to Dh15,000
- Germany: Dh16,000 to Dh17,000
Move in, move out permits
A lot of master communities in the UAE might insist that you need a move out permit while shifting out of your property and a move in permit to shift belongings to your new unit.
These permits are usually issued when you have disconnected your utility connection and paid your final bill. Your move permit is connected to your DEWA in Dubai or SEWA bill in Sharjah. When you move in, the unit must have a DEWA/SEWA connection. In Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Distribution Company (ADDC) is the utility provider.
“A move-in or move-out permit should be readily available and at no charge. This depends on the building management - whether it’s a physical copy that can be obtained at reception/security desk of your building, or online. Emaar and Dubai Properties have a move-in permit procedure, and make this quite simple with an online application,” remarked Shomali.
Moving utility, telecom and gas connection
There are some administrative fees in transferring your utilities and telecom connections from one home to the other. The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) allows residents to transfer their connection from one home to another through an online application form and charges Dh120 for the service. Telecom companies such as du also allow customers to transfer their connections with a small fee of Dh100.
Cost to transfer DEWA connection to new house
“Both DEWA and telecom operators charge a nominal fee to disconnect your service. DEWA charges Dh100 and du charges Dh100. Readers should check whether they are within a contract at du/Etisalat as exit penalties may apply depending on their contract,” Shomali added.
If you are moving out of a house in Abu Dhabi, you can close the ADDC (utility) account by visiting a branch, calling the contact centre or doing it online. Notify ADDC about your preferred move out date, the utility will prepare your final bill and once this is settled, you will get the account closing letter.
If you are moving into a house in Abu Dhabi, you need to be registered with Tawtheeq (the city’s register for tenancy contracts), and your water and electricity account can be set up easily. If you are the property owner, you need to make a separate application. You can set up your ADDC account online in a few steps or visit one of the branches.
If you are a customer of Lootah Gas, remember that there is no disconnection fee in most communities in Dubai. But there is a disconnection fee in Abu Dhabi. Send an email to customer care with your unit number and address, the technicians will disconnect the connection in 2 to 3 working days and take the final meter reading. You will receive the final bill in 7 to 10 working days. Lootah does not allow for connections to be transferred.
Cost to restore house to original condition
If you want to get your security deposit back from the landlord, it is better to restore the house to its original condition when you first moved in. You can hire a cleaning service and repaint the walls. The cost of painting an average 1-bed apartment back to white or off-white would cost Dh750 to Dh850, according to Servicemarket.com.
Average cost to paint a 1-bedroom apartment to white or off-white
According to MoversZone, it costs around Dh1,200 to Dh1,500 to repaint a 2-bedroom apartment in white or off-white. “Cleaning is done after the paint. For a 2-bed apartment, it costs Dh250 for regular cleaning while for deep cleaning, it costs Dh600 to Dh700. Deep cleaning takes around 4 to 5 hours and regular cleaning takes around 2 hours. This happens after the resident has moved out,” informed Kumar.
Move-in cleaning and sanitisation is in very high demand at the moment, given the COVID-19 crisis. Once you’ve moved into the new home, you can book a professional cleaning and sanitisation service to make sure your new home is spotless and clear of any germs and viruses. “This starts at Dh299 for a studio apartment,” explained Shomali.
Customers also usually request for handyman services to help with hanging frames and curtains, installing shelves, connecting white goods, etc. This costs Dh150 per hour. It is also recommended to take out home contents insurance, which costs around Dh300 to Dh500.
Cost to hire a handyman for one hour
“Many villa tenants require pest control ahead of moving in. This ensures you do a preventive pest control treatment of your villa to remove ants and cockroaches. This service starts at Dh299 for a 2-bedroom apartment,” she added.