How To Find And Rent Property In Dubai

Tips to help you rent property in Dubai, avoid the pitfalls and find a home to rent that you are happy with.

Renting property in Dubai is a perfect solution for those who are there either for a short stay or want to get to know the emirate better before buying a property.

If you’re on your way to the emirate and are in the process of sorting out your accommodation options, this article makes for essential reading.

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If you’re arranging terms and conditions of your employment, a large part of your negotiation should centre upon your accommodation options, because renting a property in Dubai is nothing if not expensive.

Many employers who are headhunting and relocating staff to the region are willing to accommodate you for a given period, and others offer a fixed sum towards rental accommodation. 

There follows the essential advice about how to find and rent property in Dubai – from getting these negotiations with your employer right to finding the best bargains available and negotiating with your landlord.

Financial assistance towards renting property in Dubai

If you’re planning to rent property in Dubai and are sorting out your employment contract, be sure to discuss the level of financial assistance you will be given towards your property in Dubai. 

You can go on forums and also access rental and estate agency sites on the internet to get a good grasp of a) average rental rates at the current time and b) what others are paid by their employer.  This will give you a good idea of what’s fair and what’s not!

If at all possible, try and negotiate that your employer accommodates you in company housing or a hotel for at least a month after you arrive. 

Ideally, you’d be better off having accommodation for a minimum of 2 months to allow you to find your feet and locate a suitable home to rent, but a month is okay if that’s all they’ll offer.

If your company offers you accommodation full time in company housing this can seem like an attractive benefit. 

However, you may well find that the housing they offer you isn’t 100% suited to yours and your family’s needs. 

Far better is to have accommodation for a couple of months and then to have money towards your rent in a property in Dubai of your choice.

Finding rental property in Dubai

You can simply go to a range of estate agency websites online when looking for a rental property in Dubai – however, this is quite possibly not the best way to find the best property. 

Many of the most in-demand properties are not on the market long enough to be listed with an agency, therefore you need to get out the word that you’re in the market for a property immediately.

Speak to colleagues and neighbors the moment you arrive in Dubai, speak to your employer, and also look in the classifieds in the newspaper. 

Look on notice boards at work, in the supermarket, or at the gym, for example, and be as proactive as possible.

Firstly you want to find out which is going to be the best region for you. Keep in mind two things:

  • the accessibility of the given residential area with relation to your workplace, bearing in mind commute times and traffic build-up;
  • your budgetary and personal requirements. 

Again, get recommendations from colleagues and get on forums and speak to people who have been living in Dubai for some time.  Local knowledge is priceless. It really is.

You can also be proactive by getting in your car and getting out and about, and driving around Dubai. 

Look at areas that appeal to you; look out for ‘To Let’ signs in apartment windows or outside villas.  These will list the number of the landlord or agent, and you can quickly call up and register your interest.

Remember that the best properties go fast, so be prepared to move quickly when you find a property that you like.  If you are struggling or you simply have no time or a very limited window in which to find a property in Dubai, you may be better off engaging the services of an estate agent to help with your search.

If you are moving with a family, our guide on the best places to live in Dubai for families is a good place to start your research.

Sorting out your property rental contract in Dubai

Sorting out your lease on a rental property in Dubai is very important – you have to get the contract right from the word go.  Any ambiguity has to be smoothed out, any clauses you’re not 100% happy with have to be cleared up, and it is an opportunity for you to negotiate your position to your best advantage.

Bear in mind that if you can pay for your rent upfront a year in advance you have the best chance of negotiating a very good deal. 

Think about trying to fix your landlord into a rent cap for three or more years because at the moment, the biggest annoyance for many who live in Dubai is that their rent goes up and up every year. 

Renting in Dubai
Check your contract when you rent property in Dubai

If you know well in advance what you will have to pay each year, so much the better when it comes to planning your life financially speaking.

A rental contract really should be looked at by your lawyer before you sign it, and to make sure that it is fair. 

The contract will likely list which obligations you’re liable for and which the landlord is responsible for.  For example, your landlord may be charging you more as he is liable for all maintenance. 

If you feel you could take on the garden or the basic upkeep of the home, say so and negotiate the price down a bit.

Make sure the landlord gives you plenty of notice of any changes to the contract such as rental increases.  Make sure you both have a fair notice period. 

Ensure that the security deposit is held securely, and that you are 100% happy with the contract and that it is watertight before you sign it. 

If you’re in doubt about any aspect of the lease contract, ask around and find out what’s normally worded therein.  Because you will be tightly bound by this contract, you have to get it right from the very outset.  There should be no assumptions made – because assume can make an ass out of u and me!

How to stay safe when you rent property in Dubai

1)  If you’re asked to pay for your entire rental term upfront with one cheque, run for the hills.  No decent and legitimate agent or landlord will make you do this. 

Whilst it may be commonplace for you to have to hand over forward dated cheques to cover the rental term, do not give over all your money upfront ever.  No matter what terms you’re being offered.  Anyone asking for all the money upfront is likely to be a con artist.

2)  Get a copy of the title deed for the property – you’re entitled to ask for one.  That way you can see who the legal owner is, you can then compare it to the lease you’re about to sign to ensure it is being made directly with the owner.

3)  Subletting may be commonplace but it is illegal and leaves you with NO rights if you’re a subletting tenant.

4)  If you’re using an agent or a real estate broker get details of their license to do business and go and check it against the most up to date list of approved agents at the Dubai Land Department.

5)  Make sure your contract is registered with EJARI – the initiative of Dubai’s Real Estate Regulatory Agency to regulate and facilitate the Rental Market of Dubai. 

This is a system that regulates the relationship between Landlords and Tenants in Dubai.  It requires all individuals and companies acting as landlords to register tenancy agreements using EJARI.

Final thoughts on renting in Dubai

Finally, planning to rent property in Dubai can be preferable even if you intend to live in the emirate for a prolonged period.  It will give you the chance to get a proper feel for the place before you commit to buying a property there for example, or before you commit to selling up lock, stock and barrel in your home country.

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Expatra Team

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  1. Hi I’m moving from the uk to Dubai and I don’t get my visa a month into my job. I’ll need an apartment hotel to rent. Please can you help me thanks