Stepping into the UAE with dreams of dunes and skyscrapers?

The first step is securing a nest, a haven to call your own. But between the red tape and the rocketing real estate prices, the journey to your dream home can seem daunting.

That’s where renting comes in, a convenient and practical solution for new expats and foreigners alike.

This guide will talk about some of the things you need to keep in mind when renting in the UAE, along with the renting norms. We have also gathered information on the rent rates in the UAE and how you can legally get an apartment or house. 

Is It Better To Rent Or Buy In The UAE

Whether you should rent during your initial days or go all out and buy a shiny new house solely varies on the individual and their buying power.

Property in the UAE can be costly for foreigners and expats.

You can get cheaper accommodation in Al Ain and other cities, but the job opportunities aren’t as strong compared to Dubai or the rest of the UAE.

Hence, people are big on renting in the UAE and are more attracted to flats than houses. The towns and societies that are available for residency in these major cities are costly. 

Later on we will discuss finding the perfect apartment for yourself and the documents you need to get that property. 

Renting in UAE 1

How Much Is Rent In UAE

Rent is not cheap in the UAE; however, it is still a lot more affordable than buying property in the UAE.

The cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the most expensive in the UAE, and hence the prices of rent are skyrocketing there, and that is why you will notice that most of the expats work in these cities and live in either Sharjah or Al Ain, due to them being more affordable. 

Renting an apartment that has only one room in Dubai or Abu Dhabi will set you back AED 40,000 to AED 45,000 annually at the bare minimum.

You will pay this price if you live in these twin cities’ outer areas. The inner prime locations will run you into hundreds of thousands in rent annually.

However, if you do decide to live in other cities like Sharjah or Al Ain, there is a 35 to 50% reduction in rent, and you will be able to get more space for less money. 

A two-bedroom apartment in Dubai or Abu Dhabi will set you back AED 90,000 to AED 100,000 annually.

Also, if you have a larger family and want to settle into your own house, a tiny three-room villa has an average rent of AED 150,000 in Dubai.

In Sharjah, you could get a similar villa for rent for around AED 80,000 to AED 90,000. Thus, we recommend you stay in Sharjah due to the low cost of living.

A common practice is the security rental deposit of 5% of your total rental value which will be refunded upon vacating the premises and without any damage to the infrastructure.

Additionally, in Dubai, there is a housing fee, which is equivalent to 5% of your monthly rent, which is added to your utilities and is paid every month. This fee would also adjust itself according to any rental changes. 

How To Find An Apartment In The UAE

There are several ways you can find a rental apartment in the UAE. You could hire a broker or a real investment firm to help you locate and set up an apartment based on your needs.

Some places in the UAE are ideal for expats and foreigners to live in. You can visit these places and find for yourself the apartment or villa you like. 

Popular Rental Places in the UAE

Some of the best places to find an apartment or villa in Dubai are Dubai Marina, Downtown Dubai, and Bur Dubai.

Abu Dhabi is another ideal location to find your next residency spot; places like Al Reem Island and Khalifa City are hot these days in terms of rental properties.

Sharjah also has a great area famous for rental spots called Al Tawwun

Online Platforms for Renting in the UAE 

For a lot of reasons, online sources are some of the best ways to find property in the UAE.

There are online sources like Bayut, Dubizzle, Property Finder, and Zoom Property.

There are some other places where you can find properties, such as on the back of the classified pages of UAE newspapers. Newspapers like Khaleej and Gulf News have dedicated rental spaces portion in their paper.

You will find an endless list of properties to rent online. Agents put up most of the ads, so you call them and negotiate a deal.

There are even many property owners have also put up their properties for rent themselves. 

If you do like a property, you can call the agents or the homeowners directly so you can view the property and further discuss terms and conditions.

Agents are always exceptionally friendly and can communicate well in English. So you do not have to worry about not being able to speak Arabic as an expat since they will also get a commission if the transaction goes through. 

Rental Contracts And Rights

Rental contracts are pretty tight in the UAE, and many rights are given to both the tenants and the property owners in the UAE since renting is a trendy business and source of income for many Emiratis.

Most of the rental contracts in the UAE are valid for a year and are made by the broker for the landlord, which has to be signed by both parties without any witnesses or involvement of a third person.

You will have to pay a heavy fine as a tenant if you do decide to move out of the property and break the contract without prior notice.

This fine usually varies, but it’s mostly a couple of months’ worth of rent. Thus, it’s neither advisable nor intelligent to break your contract.

Make sure there is enough flexibility in your contract before you sign it. 

Property Rental Rights You Should Know

There are some rights of the property owner and tenant, which we will be discussing here.

The landlord cannot increase the rent during a yearly contract. He or she can do that only after a year’s contract expires.

The property owner can only increase the rent as long as the increase is in line with the regulations of the Real Estate Regularity Authority. Moreover, if the tenant the check bounces, the law in the UAE states that the property owner can kick the tenant’s family out without any notice.

Apart from this, bounced checks like these will be the cause of heavy legal fines as well.

Suppose you live in an apartment with external areas like pools and gyms outside your apartment. In that case, your property owner is legally required to maintain them at their own expense unless stated otherwise in your contract. 

As a tenant, you will be powerless if you sign the papers without reading them and looking at the fine print.

Make sure you go through it thoroughly, as there is no going back once you have signed the contract.

As a tenant, you can change the fixtures and any other fittings as you see fit.

In addition, you are not required to renew your contract after it has expired after a year.

The tenant cannot put the property on rent or share it with anyone else and divide the expenses unless it is allowed by the contract.

The tenant should reasonably maintain the property. If there is any damage to the property, the property owner will deduct a certain amount from the tenant’s security deposit toward the end of the term. 

Governing Bodies And What To Do In Case Of Dispute

There are bound to be disputes and issues when your property owners or tenants during your stay, and hence there are dedicated rental dispute resolution committees in each Emirate, which will listen to your case and come up with a solution.

There is a dedicated Rental Dispute Settlement Center physically in Dubai, which you can visit.

Abu Dhabi has a dedicated website where you can lodge formal complaints, which are followed up quite promptly.

Before you submit your complaint to these committees, there are some documents you should have.

They might include but are not limited to ID proof of tenant and Landlord, along with original copies of your visa and passport, a rental contract, and rental deposit slip

Tips If You Are Renting In UAE

We will give you some tips before your shift in your new rented space in any of the emirates in the UAE.

These rules and tips should be followed regardless of your relationship with your property owner, as these are standard norms and etiquette.

  • If you are a pet owner, ensure that your property owner does not object to it or that your apartment is pet friendly. Make sure to file the paperwork and the deposit slips promptly since there are many occurrences of late fines in the UAE.
  • Make sure not to play the music too loud, even in your home, since your neighbors might call the police. The police in the UAE take these calls very seriously, so make sure to inform your neighbors beforehand.
  • Since UAE is a Muslim-majority country, if you are a non-Muslim, make sure to respect the fasting traditions of Ramadan and do not eat outside in the common areas if you are living in an apartment. This will not cause any penalty or fine, but it is just a sign of respect to your property owner. 

Another bonus tip, which is not a norm or etiquette, is that make sure to hire an excellent legal team to go through the contract before you sign it.

These firms are excellent at finding things hidden in small print etc. so that your rights as a tenant can be protected. 


The journey of renting in the UAE might be lined with a few hurdles, but with the right knowledge and preparation, it’s a race you can certainly win.

Remember, in the world of UAE real estate, knowledge is your greatest ally.

So, arm yourself with the right information, understand the norms, and step into your dream rental home with confidence.

We hope this helped! Do let us know if we missed anything or how we can improve!