Finding a Rental Property

How to go about finding a house or apartment to rent in Dubai...

When choosing an area to live in, there are a several things to consider:

  • Budget
  • Travelling distance to work and schools
  • Neighbourhood services (supermarkets, pharmacies, food outlets)
  • Community/building amenities (pools, gardens, gyms)
  • Access to public transport
  • Pet policy

Several websites publish guides to the most popular areas.

There are three basic types of rentals:

  • Apartments or Condominiums - high and low rise buildings
    • Standard
    • Serviced or hotel apartments - usually within a hotel and comes fully furnished and with access to hotel amenities
  • Townhouse - small compounds and large living communities
  • Villas - found individually, in small compounds with several others, or as part of a larger living community
    • Detached - stand alone houses
    • Semi-detached - houses that share a common outer wall

There are two ways to secure a rental property:

  1. Private rentals, through individual landlords
  2. Through a real estate letting agency

Private rentals

Private rentals can be found through newspaper and online classifieds, word-of-mouth and "To Let" signs outside of the property. The benefit of a private rental is that agency fees of five percent of the annual rent are not incurred and lease terms can often be negotiated.

Popular classified websites include:

Also see the following local and national English newspapers:

Private rentals should all be subject to a written contract or tenancy agreement, which sets out the rights and responsibilities of both the landlord and the tenant.

Letting/rental agent

Legitimate agents and brokers must be registered with RERA and carry a valid Broker ID card. A potential tenant should expect to sign an Agent's Appointment Agreement with the chosen agency when hiring an agent to search for a rental property on their behalf.

Note that some property owners/managers prefer not to deal with rental agents working for prospective tenants and will print, "no agents" on their advertisements to signify this.

When a lease is signed, the tenant is required to pay a five percent commission of the annual rent to the estate agency (never to an individual) who is representing either the tenant or the landlord.

Furnished and Unfurnished Properties

The majority of properties are unfurnished, but some fully furnished apartments and villas can be found for long-term rental, although for a higher price.

Unfurnished flats usually have the bare essentials such as light fixtures and curtain rails. Others described as semi-furnished might have slightly more equipment such as a stove/cooker, fridge and washing machine. Fully-furnished apartments tend to include furniture and appliances.