How to get housing accommodation in the UAE

March 20 , 2021 by: Ishwa Junaid

The housing pricks have dropped off by 30% over the past few years, but Accommodation in UAE, especially in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, remains expensive.

Many expats work in Abu Dhabi or Dubai but live in nearby Emirates such as Sharjah or Ajman. Many companies in the UAE also offer Accommodation to their employees. While looking for Accommodation in UAE, always keep in mind that Dubai is the most expensive, where Abu Dhabi comes close to it.

Accommodation options

Rental contracts mostly last for one year and can lead to heavy fines if broken. Many landlords demand one year’s pre-dated checks along with rent of up to 3 months as a deposit.

Renting a House or Apartment

Renting an apartment or house in the UAE is easy, but the prices of rents are High. The United Arab Emirates is best known for offering attractive salary packages, but the majority percentage of the salary goes to High living cost. Average rent lies between 20,000 to 50,000 AED per annum for a studio apartment. One, two or three bedrooms can be more expensive.

Abu Dhabi photo Iva Prime on Pexels

Annually average rent in Abu Dhabi

Apartment Type                  High End Properties                   Lower End Properties

1-Bedroom Apartment       106,630 AED (29,000 USD)     65,780 AED (17,900 USD)

2-Bedroom Apartment       153,130 AED (41,690 USD)       95,000 AED (25,860 USD)

3-Bedroom Apartment      200,630 AED (54,620 USD)      123,890 AED (33,730 USD)


Dubai photo by Timo Volz on Pexels

Annually average rent in Dubai

Apartment Type                  High End Properties                   Lower End Properties

1-Bedroom Apartment       96,670 AED (26,320 USD)       56,200 AED (15,300 USD)

2-Bedroom Apartment      140,000 AED (38,115 USD)      79,000 AED (21,510 USD)

3-Bedroom Apartment     190,000 AED (51,725 USD)      105,000 AED (28,585 USD)


Average Housing Rent

Some expats prefer to live in a house or villa in the United Arab Emirates. In Dubai, the minimum house rent for three bedrooms is between 193,180 AED (52,590 USD) to 298,640 AED (81,300 USD). The bedroom range mostly leads to 5 bedrooms, and the price gets increased according to size, location, facilities and age of the house. In Abu Dhabi the range lies between 168,180 AED (45,785 USD) to 305,910 AED (83,280 USD).

I am renting Accommodation as a Foreigner/expat.

The contract usually lasts for one year, and it is hard to break. Fortunately, it works favourably for both tenant and landlord. It’s possible to get both furnished and unfurnished flats.

Rental rules and process

Rental rules and process mostly are the same throughout the 7 Emirates, but there are chances to find minor differences when it comes to paying deposits or legalizing the contracts. Make sure .to check the specifics with your emirate state thoroughly.

Guiding steps for finding Accommodation in the United Arab Emirates

Step 1: Arrival in the Country

For renting an apartment in the UAE, you are available in the country. There are many online listed apartments, but it is preferable not to sign a lease until you visit it. Leases are mostly for one year. Make sure to consider the traffic of surrounding areas and transportation options available nearby when renting in UAE.

Step 2: Online search

Below are some websites/Apps to start with

Before renting, you must visit the property, no matter how good pictures look, but visiting reveal many hidden secrets.

Recommended links

Photo by on Pexels

Step 3: Hire an Agent

Expats prefer to hire a ‘real estate agent’ for helping them to search for Accommodation. Make sure your agents are registered with RERA. Otherwise, it’s illegal to work with unauthorized agent. He will be responsible for in handing all the contracts and paperwork

Step 4: Documents preparation

The typical requirements and documents for renting are:

Nattanan Kanchanaprat on Pixabay

Step 5: Deposit and Rental Contract

Of you are moving to Abu Dhabi or Dubai, then your rental contract must be registered with the local authorities. Remember, these requirements might vary depending on which emirate you’re moving to. Preferably, please consult with your agent so he can guide you regarding the contract requirements of your specific emirate.

In Abu Dhabi rental contract is called Tawtheeq, when in Dubai, it’s called Ejari. Ejari is completed by either the real estate consultant or property owner.

In past years, landlords used to demand a full year’s rent as a deposit. But now, you can negotiate. It has become common for expat to pay just three months in advance, along with pre-dated checks for covering the rest. There are also options to pay monthly if your landlord allows.

Useful Tips

While looking for idea accommodation, here are some tips which can be helpful for you.

  1. Keep in mind the distance from home to work, and it should be less.
  2. Remember to check nearby traffic whether it is suited for you or not.
  3. Lookup for areas that are closed to grocery centres and daily needed items.
  4. If you don’t own a car, make sure to rent Accommodation closed to public transport.


Ishwa Junaid

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