Complex Made Simple

Consider this before renting in Dubai

On top of the basic cost of renting, there are other costs you must account for.

While the idea of moving into a new house is an exciting proposition, finding the right place to rent that meets your requirements can be an overwhelming task. Even when you find a great place, there are so many other factors to consider. On top of the basic cost of renting, there are other costs you must account for.

Planning your big move soon? brings you a quick guide on what to look out for when renting property in Dubai.

Location: How practical is it?

This is one of the first things you need to assess. In addition to basic amenities such as grocery stores and pharmacies, don’t overlook features like accessible roads and free parking. Whether you’re looking for a quiet neighbourhood, proximity to your workplace and kids’ school, or metro connectivity, list your preferences and narrow down your search. If you have pets, ask if they are allowed on the premises. Ongoing construction in many prime locations in Dubai may cause traffic congestion, making them less attractive to many. Avoid these areas if noise is a major concern.

Cost: What can I afford?

A general rule of thumb is to not spend more than 30 percent of your income on rent. Make sure you can afford the rent and the accompanying costs. While looking for options, you will also have to factor in the additional costs you will be paying, such as the deposit, agent’s commission, maintenance fees, etc. You may be forced to compromise on a smaller apartment in a convenient location or bigger apartment on the outskirts of the city. Most landlords would require a single-cheque rent payment, with other common options being two or four cheques. You can also try to negotiate the payment frequency with the landlord. If you’re finding it difficult to find an apartment of your choice within your budget, consider getting a roommate to share your expenses.

Furnishings: What are my requirements?

When searching for your next apartment, decide what features really matter, such as hardwood floors, big windows, open spaces, etc. Decide on which features are must-haves and which ones you can compromise on. If you’re moving into a fully furnished apartment, make sure to check the fixtures and furniture for any damages. Also remember to check all of the electrical appliances, bathroom fittings, water pressure, air conditioners, heaters, walls and windows amongst others.


A closer look at overall rental costs

So you’ve found a great house. Now comes the paperwork and with that come associated costs. Below are some of the fees and overheads a prospective tenant is expected to pay.

Agent’s commission:  Typically, most landlords in the UAE appoint an agency to manage their properties. These agents are entitled to a certain percentage of rent as their fee. In Dubai, the norm is to pay five percent of the agreed annual rent as brokerage fee.

Security deposit: You can expect to shell out another five percent of the annual rent as a security deposit to your landlord, which he or she can use to restore the property should there be any damages; if there aren’t any, this amount is returned to you when the lease ends.

Ejari registration: It is mandatory to register all tenancy contracts of Dubai with the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA) through the ‘Ejari’ system. While tenants and landlords are jointly responsible for this, it’s common practice in Dubai to expect tenants to bear the cost, which includes an AED160 government fee and AED35 typing service charge. Keep in mind that you will also have to pay a processing fee or premium if you’re using a third-party agency.

DEWA connection: Before you move into your new place, you would have to set up a new account in your name with DEWA (Dubai Electricity and Water Authority). This will require a refundable deposit of AED2,000 for apartments and AED4,000 for villas.

Housing fee: Apart from the actual consumption cost, you will also be charged a housing fee by DEWA. This fee is fixed at five percent of your annual rent, to be paid in instalments over 12 months as part of your monthly DEWA bill.

Gas connection: You would also be paying to set up a new gas connection and the security deposit for this varies based on the company that provides gas services to your property.

Etisalat / Du: For Internet, TV and landline services you would be required to set up an account with either of the two providers, Etisalat or Du. A monthly charge is levied based on the package you choose, Internet speed, type of router, etc. Keep in mind that you would also be paying a security deposit and installation charge.

Maintenance and other costs: Be sure to check who bears the cost of maintenance of the property – you, the landlord or both on a cost-sharing basis. In some areas, the chiller fee or the cost of cooling and air conditioning may be passed on from the landlord to the tenant. You can also try to negotiate an agency maintenance contract with your landlord.