How to rent an apartment in Dubai

Steps to rent an apartment/villa in Dubai

Any expat in Dubai can rent an apartment as UAE resident with few steps, but the important questions are:

How to find the best apartment for rent?

How to find cheap apartments for rent? And how much does it cost to rent an apartment in Dubai?

You might be looking for a cheap studio or furnished apartments for rent…

Let’s be honest, this is what you’d be googling to start with.

In this article, we’ll show you all steps to rent an apartment in Dubai starting from finding an apartment for rent and including all agency fees for renting and tenancy rules and regulations.

And if you want to skip the details and get your own checklist, we’ve done this infographic for you in the end of this post as your quick guide.

So what do you need to rent an apartment?

1. Finding an apartment

Rent an apartment: Find an apartment by search listings

Whether you’re looking for apartments for rent long term, or just monthly, you’ll have to start by looking for it online through rent an apartment websites.

Search apartment listings in rent an apartment websites such as dubizzle,,, bayut, and even some Facebook pages.

In most of those platforms, you can filter the listings based on your needs such as number of rooms, the area , furnished or unfurnished, etc. The landlord or agent usually states the following clearly:

  • Rent Amount
  • Number of cheques over a rental year
  • Security deposit (usually 5% of the rent amount)
  • Furnished or unfurnished
  • When can the unit be viewed
  • Desired starting date
  • Any other conditions – your visa process should be done (you need an Emirates ID)

Now, make your shortlist of a few apartments that meet your requirements and contact the person mentioned in the listing, who will either be the agent or landlord.

We advise you to make a plan and narrow down your preferred properties three months in advance. The landlord or agent is usually more interested in you if you’re ready to move in within a month.


2. View the unit

View the unit before you rent an apartment

Make sure you take note of the minute details when you visit.  (take photos if required.)

Here are a few tips to keep in mind before you rent an apartment:

  • Find the access to and from public transport (metro stations or bus stops), in case you don’t drive (You can refer to our Dubai Public Transport in Dubai to see maps of the metro stations and bus stops)
  • Security of the building (Is there a watchman always? Can anyone access the building at anytime without a question?)
  • Plan your transportation to your work whether it’s by metro,bus or car and check timing ( Usually, more than 10 minutes from public transport is considered a problem especially in summer days)
  • Noise in the area (for example: in winter time some construction works last 24 hours non-stop)
  • A good trick is to interact with the neighbors -if possible- to know if they face any challenges
  • Understand the AC system inside the apartment (central or separate for each room)
  • Check how’s the maintenance service. (Is it frequent and on time or it’s just mentioned and might be a hassle?)
  • Check all shared facilities in the building such as gym or swimming pool
  • Ask about the parking lot. (Would you have your own parking spot?)
  • In case you have visitors, guests or family coming, check for the rules if there are any.
  • Take a look around the apartment for any facilities nearby such as grocery, laundry, school, restaurants, Mall, etc.

3. Negotiate the rent

Negotiate apartment rent

When you decide to rent the apartment, you may want to negotiate rent amount. While the landlord or agent may not go down on the rent amount, a common way to bargain is on the number of cheques. For example, sometimes the landlord may agree to reduce the total rent amount if you pay with fewer number of checques.

Be keen to clarify other specifics such as the contract starting date, duration, and security deposit amount. Also any additional articles added to to the contract such as Annex part.


4. Pay security deposit and reserve your property

If you want the landlord/agent to secure the apartment/villa for you, they’ll probably ask you to pay a refundable security deposit. It’s usually 5% of the rental amount or one month’s rent.

You write the cheques or pay cash to the landlord, but it’s held by the agent until the deal has been finalized. Make sure that you receive a receipt for the security deposit refund. If you later choose to back out from the deal, the agent will hand over the cheque to the landlord.

At this point, you need to provide the following to the agent:

Documents required to rent:

  • Your Passport
  • Residence visa copy (or an original letter from your sponsor/company stating that your visa is under process) without done visa you will not be able to setup DEWA (water & electricity), gas or internet

Security deposit: Usually 5% of the rent amount or one month’s rent, refundable.

5. Sign the contract

Rent an apartment: Sign contract, Pay cheques

The agent will send you the Tenancy Contract which includes all the information regarding the rent (including any conditions agreed by both parties). Go through it thoroughly and you may suggest changes if necessary. For instance, if you want the property to be repainted, make sure it’s clearly stated.

The contract must comply with the tenancy rules and regulations in Dubai.

After you’re convinced about the contract, you may sign and submit, and hand over the rent cheques and the agency commission. Always make sure you receive invoices.

The agent will then get the landlord to sign the contract, hand over the cheques to him/her (sign an acknowledgement receipt).

You get a copy of the signed contract while the landlord keeps one.

In addition, you will receive the keys and access cards. You will also sign a handover form clearly stating that you’re receiving ‘x’ amount of keys, access cards, parking bay slots, etc.).

6. Connecting DEWA

Now that you officially rented, or decided to rent an apartment, you’d need to connect DEWA by setting up a DEWA account.

You’ll need to submit some documents to Dubai Electricity & Waster Authority (DEWA) and pay a refundable deposit with setup charges fees.

If you already know how, skip this step and if you need to know how to set up DEWA in easy steps you can read our How to setup DEWA, which will take you step by step through the process.

Housing fee: 5% of annual rent amount that’s added to DEWA bills.

7. Ejari Registration

After connecting DEWA you’ll need to register with Ejari and submit your DEWA connection receipt.

You’ll need to submit the following documents:

  • Original tenancy contract
  • Original receipt of DEWA connection in the tenant’s name
  • Title deed (in case of freehold property or SPA if it has been bought from a reputable developer) or affection plan
  • Copies of the tenant’s passport and landlord’s passport
  • A copy of Emirates ID

Ejari fees: Dh195 for all types of properties

Notes before moving in:

For instance, the security in the building may not allow you to move in on Fridays. You need to raise these questions with the landlord before.

The rents can have a fixed contract, which is usually one year, or no contract.

In case the contract is for less than a year, it falls under short-term rental. The laws are governed by Dubai Tourism board.

10 things to remember before signing the contract:

  1. Make sure that your real estate agent is Rera registered. They should be able to provide you with their broker’s number.
  2. Write your cheques to the landlord directly. Before handing the cheques, ask your landlord for their passport’s copy and the title deed too if possible.
  3. Ensure that all service charges have been paid by the landlord, and if possible get it in writing too.
  4. Make sure that there are no outstanding bills for DEWA or air conditioning service (chiller). If there is any, they will need to be paid before you can set up an account.
  5. In case of maintenance issues that need to be resolved, ensure they take care of them before you move in.
  6. Be aware of how many car parking spaces you have. It happens to be only one to share between a husband and wife. Also find out if there is visitors parking, and how to access it.
  7. Check how to access all parts of the building. Often, you may need swipe cards and door keys to enter your property.
  8. If the property is not clean before you move in, ask for it to be cleaned in advance of you moving in. A property should be handed over in a habitable condition.
  9. If you find any issues with the apartment, take photos and let your agent and landlord know. This way you can avoid issues when you try to prove they were there before.
  10. Sign up for Ejari once you have your tenancy contract.

How to know if your landlord can increase your rent?

Always keep a track of market conditions to know if the rents are to go up or not.

In order to calculate your rental increase, you can check the rental increase calculator by Dubai Lands Department. Enter your tenancy contract information such as contract expiry date, property area, property type, no. of bedrooms and your current annual rent; and you will know if your landlord can increase your rent or not.

According to, the average rent amount of a property should be determined by the Rent Index of the Emirate of Dubai and approved by RERA. This index is updated every 3 months. Visit the RERA page to check the average rent for your property.


And as a wrap of all, you may download this Rent an apartment infographic, as your cheat sheet for everything mentioned above:

How to rent an apartment inforgraphic

Download Rent an Apartment Infographic

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