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Housing questions in the Emirates, and particularly in Dubai, are very common. The real estate market in Dubai is one of the most prominent in the world, and one of the most expensive. It is also a very young market, and has been undergoing consistent overhaul, with particular attention given to it over the last few years, since the real estate bust in 2008.

Today’s laws and regulations are complex and many current and longterm residents of Dubai are still not familiar with all the necessary details.

This FAQ page is designed to demystify the numerous elements that come into play when attempting to understand the lay of the land, be it for the lease, purchase, or sale of properties across the city. It is also important to remember that there are certain parts of the city (like DIFC) that are governed separately from the rest of it.

Please read through these carefully, as they will save you money, time, and headache in your hunt for a home in the emirate of Dubai. Most of this information was sourced and the RERA laws available online.


Make sure you have done your research and are buying the right property for the right reasons. Residential options vary from apartments to villas, bungalows, or plots of land, while commercial properties are restricted to particular business activities and so should be more carefully selected.

Once you’ve selected a few properties, check three things:
Make sure you see the title deed, and ensure that it’s registered under the seller’s name. Check if it’s mortgaged or not. Find out what the annual service charges are.
Ask about the Owner’s Association, the entity that is authorized by the Dubai Land Department to undertake various tasks on the behalf of property owners, while also having an expense account for maintenance and improvements.
Meticulously assess the full property, and potentially bring in a surveyor (at your own cost) to give you a full expert opinion on the value of your potential purchase and detail all its features.

Agents can be helpful, particularly when you select a RERA Registered Agent whose specific investment area matches with your interests and needs. The Dubai Land Department provides pre-defined contracts (Appointment Form) that the agent should arrange for them to be able to represent you. Once the property has been signed in your name, the agent should get a 2% agency fee on the net selling price.
A few items to keep an eye out for when dealing with agents:
Scrutinize all Memoranda of Understanding and Sale & Purchase Agreements, making sure they are not one-sided and that you are protected.
After a deposit (generally 10%) has been given and the MoU signed, everyone is obligated to fulfill the agreed terms and conditions, and if the buyer reneges on them then the transaction is cancelled and the deposit becomes non-refundable.
There is a 4% transfer fee that is paid either entirely by the buyer or split with the seller.
An NOC from the developer is needed; mortgaged properties require a discharge letter from the bank; there will be a deadline for the transfer of ownership to take place, but it can be adjusted.

The final transfer of ownership should happen with everyone (buyer, seller, and both their agents) in attendance at the Dubai Land Department. You will need the signed MoU/SPA, original passport and a copy, company trade license, Memorandum of Association, Board Resolution (if you’re purchasing through an offshore company), and an original power of attorney document notarized in the UAE (if you are represented by another person). You will also need mortgage registration documents (original letter from the bank and three original offer letters from the bank, a fee of 0.25% of the loan amount plus AED10 and service fees of AED 4,000).

Land registration is 4% of the Net Selling Price + AED 540 (AED 20 for Oqood (off plan) purchases); administration fees are AED 4,000 for properties over AED 500,000 and AED 2,000 if less; agency fee is 2% of the net price.
The net selling price should be made out to a manager’s cheque in the seller’s name. Cheques cannot be in the agent’s name.


Your landlord must give you notice on changes in rent 90 days before contract renewal.
12 month notice is necessary if the landlord chooses to evict you based on a desire to take up personal residence or sell the property.
Only retain the services of registered RERA agents with a valid RERA Registration ID Card.

To be allowed to take out a year-long lease on an apartment, you’ll need to be a resident of Dubai (well, the UAE). Ensure you’ve got your residency visa on hand when you decide on your apartment.

Then, find agents you’re comfortable with. Only brokers with power of attorney from the landlord can take payments under their own name: check the PoA letter meticulously before making payments.

It is your right to meet with the landlord and to take a copy of the title deed and the landlord’s passport copy or Emirates ID (or both). Ask the landlord or agent to provide you with a proof of Ejari registration.

Another factor that always goes amiss: the Dubai Municipality applies a Housing Fee that is 5% of the annual rent, paid over 12 installments added to your DEWA bill. Some areas also charge chiller (air-conditioning) fees.

Most importantly, maintain excellent relations and communication with your landlord, particularly for commercial leases that are usually for longer than one year.

These should keep you covered, but the Rent Index provided by RERA lets you know how much rent you should be paying every year. Check it whenever it’s time to renew contracts.

* we’ll add more to this as we get more questions from you.

How to find an apartment

Moving to any city is difficult. Very difficult.
Moving within a city is hard enough!

The majority of people who move to Dubai come from the Indian subcontinent, the West (US, Canada, EU, Australia, New Zealand), the Far East, and the Middle East. Brazilians also come here a lot, and South Africans are very popular in the UAE too.

Clearly, the variety of immigrants is immense. What do most of them have in common? An unavoidable unfamiliarity with the way the Emirates functions. Even Middle Easterners are a little bit unfamiliar with the ways of the GCC. Finding an apartment here is tough, mostly because of one very simple issue: apartments in the UAE are expensive.

Another oft mentioned reality is that the laws that govern apartment renting, buying, and selling have confused people, with many not keeping up with recent changes. We’ve taken care of that for you, though: just browse over to our FAQ section and you’ll find all your questions answered.

1. Start by finding a registered RERA (Real Estate Regulatory Authority) real estate agent. It is your right to request to see your agent’s government issued card.
2. While you find an agent you are comfortable working with, figure out what is most important to you when it comes to your living space: size, location, amenities, style. Write down the pros and cons, then start by looking through out neighborhoods directory.
3. Go through the various listings we have in your areas. Speak to the agent you found in the beginning, or with the agents responsible for the properties you find in the listings. Sometimes, there is no middle person and the owner communicates with you directly.
4. Make sure everything is clearly stated in the contract, and that it falls in line with the laws and regulations we explain in the FAQs.
5. Does the apartment come with appliances and furniture? Make sure the contract lists them. Take photos of your apartment before you move in with the agent or owner as witnesses, and email them copies with an explanation of what they are. You might need to come back to this email when you move out.
6. Take receipts for everything you hand over: signed photocopies of cheques, contracts, and any other documentation. Make sure you also have a copy of your landlord’s Emirates ID or passport and a copy of your agent’s RERA card.

Start with these, and read up on the other ways to improve your choices in the UAE as a newbie or even a veteran. Have tips of your own? Suggest them in the comments below for everyone else to read them!

General House Services

Casayou is based on a principle of making housing and accommodation easy for you to find, maintain, and enjoy. It is about creating a home. With that in mind, a key aspect of being comfortable and happy with your home is being able to know where to turn to for various aspects of living.