Search for a Home in UAE

Search for a Home in UAE

When relocating to the United Arab Emirates, search for a home in UAE is a necessity. Given the influx of expatriates in the UAE, there’s a wide array of housing choices at your disposal. However, it’s essential to clarify with your employer, before committing to a contract, whether a housing allowance is part of the package. This step can significantly impact your search for a home in UAE, offering flexibility in choosing a residence that suits your needs and preferences.

Begin your search for a home in UAE by considering factors such as location, amenities, and proximity to workplaces or schools. Engaging with local real estate agents can provide valuable insights into the housing market, guiding you through the process of finding the perfect home. Additionally, leverage online platforms and resources dedicated to real estate in the UAE to explore available options.

Search for a home in UAE is a pivotal aspect of the relocation process, and being well-informed about housing allowances and available resources can streamline this transition. Taking the time to explore various housing options ensures that you find a comfortable and suitable residence in the vibrant and diverse landscape of the United Arab Emirates.

Search for a Home

Buy or rent a home in the UAE?

Should you buy or rent a home in the UAE? Your decision will depend on various factors. While renting is the choice for many, buying property in the UAE is also common, especially among those with the financial means and a long-term commitment to the country. It’s worth noting that property ownership doesn’t lead to citizenship or naturalization. When purchasing property, be prepared to pay at least 25% of the property’s total value upfront.

For those who aren’t ready for a long-term stay, or prefer the flexibility of renting, it’s a viable option.

Here are some key points to consider about the rental market in the UAE:

  1. Rental costs in major emirates like Dubai and Abu Dhabi can be relatively high, with expats often allocating a significant portion of their income (around 35-40%) to cover rent and utilities.

  2. Ideally, your rent should not exceed 20-25% of your household income, but finding a suitable place within this price range may require some time and effort.

  3. The proximity of emirates and excellent road infrastructure, coupled with affordable fuel, allows for a convenient lifestyle. You can work in one emirate and live in another, potentially benefiting from lower rent and living costs.

  4. It’s important to be aware that cohabitation as an unmarried couple is illegal in the UAE, and such arrangements may have serious consequences. Additionally, while practices like couchsurfing and sharing apartments with roommates are common, they aren’t officially sanctioned. This is a crucial consideration during your housing search.

Search for a home in UAE

Types of Housing in the UAE

When it comes to short stays in the United Arab Emirates, you have a plethora of hotel options to choose from, spanning mid-range to upmarket establishments. Staying in a hotel for a brief period may be the interim step before settling into your new residence. Alternatively, there are apartment hotels available if you prefer a more budget-friendly option, or a range of hotels to suit your preferences.

Serviced apartments represent another popular choice for short-term accommodations. Typically, these encompass studios or larger apartments equipped with all the conveniences you need for a comfortable stay, including amenities like cooking facilities and laundry services. Moreover, services like housekeeping are often included, making serviced apartments a preferred option for busy professionals or those on business trips in the UAE.

The housing landscape in the seven emirates primarily features modern and recently constructed properties. These are frequently found in city centers, encompassing large buildings, or in the form of villas organized in residential “compounds” on the outskirts. Some buildings offer additional amenities such as swimming pools, sports facilities, and security or concierge services. Housing options vary, with beachfront apartments, high-rise city apartments, and accommodations near marinas being available depending on the emirate.

Standalone villas and townhouses are also prevalent in the UAE, with many offering up to six bedrooms, along with spacious gardens, backyards, and, in some cases, private pools.

It’s essential to note that the availability and popularity of each housing type may differ from one emirate to another. Additionally, the location plays a pivotal role in determining rental rates, with housing in Dubai generally commanding higher prices compared to Sharjah and Abu Dhabi.

How to Search for a home in UAE?

To locate housing in the United Arab Emirates, explore real estate websites and scan classified ads in local newspapers. Several prominent apartment-hunting websites, such as Property Finder, Bayut, Just Property, Dubizzle, and others, are widely used for this purpose. Local newspapers like Gulf News, Khaleej Times, The National, and Gulf Today also feature apartment listings.

In the UAE, most property rentals are facilitated by agencies. Since many agents are proficient in English and accustomed to working with expats, you should typically encounter no difficulties in finding accommodation through this avenue. On occasion, you might come across listings directly from landlords, but it’s advisable to exercise caution and have someone review your lease agreement before signing.

If you have a specific building in mind that you wish to rent, you can inquire with the management at the building’s front office about available rental options.

For those currently residing outside the UAE but seeking to have an apartment ready upon arrival, you can seek assistance from a friend or employer. It’s crucial to arrange for someone to inspect the apartment before finalizing the lease agreement.

Rent prices in the UAE

The cost of rent in the UAE varies based on your location and the type of accommodation you select.

On average, a studio apartment typically rents for around AED 50,000 per year. For a two-bedroom unit, the annual rental cost may start at AED 60,000 or higher.

Like Search for a home in UAE, you may also like to read about Accommodation in the UAE.

Lease conditions in the UAE

In the UAE, rental agreements are typically established for a one-year term and are renewable. To secure an apartment, house, or villa for rent, you’ll need to provide an advance payment equivalent to one month’s rent (or two months in some cases).

When renting an apartment, the following documents are usually required: a copy of your ID and a copy of your residence permit/visa. The contract finalization process typically takes a few days and is typically managed by your agent and landlord.

Additionally, a security deposit is necessary when renting a place in the UAE. It’s essential to retain a receipt for your deposit to facilitate its return when your lease concludes.

Rent payments in the UAE are generally made quarterly via post-dated cheques. However, direct debit options are becoming more common, simplifying the payment process. While you can negotiate monthly rent payments, they are less common and often incur higher costs compared to making three or four payments per year.

Should you engage an agent to facilitate your accommodation rental, agent fees are typically around 5% of the rental value.

As previously mentioned, rental contracts are typically signed for a one-year duration. If you decide to terminate the contract prematurely, a penalty equivalent to two months’ rent is typically imposed. Conversely, if your landlord opts to terminate your lease early, they are typically required to provide a three-month notice.

In most rental arrangements, tenants are responsible for their water and electricity bills. Air conditioning costs, however, are usually included in the rent.

Rights and Responsibilities of Tenants and Landlords

The Landlord:

  1. The landlord is required to provide you with an English version of your lease. It’s essential not to sign a contract in a language you do not understand, and always request an officially translated document.

  2. The landlord must furnish you with a copy of your security deposit receipt. This receipt is vital for reclaiming your deposit at the end of your rental term.

  3. Once the lease contract has been mutually signed, the landlord cannot increase the rent for the duration of the annual lease.

  4. If you are moving into a furnished accommodation, it’s advisable to request a comprehensive list of all items within the apartment from your landlord. Prior to signing, thoroughly examine and verify the accuracy of this list.

The Tenant:

  1. Prior to signing your rental contract, it’s essential as a tenant to thoroughly review the agreement. Once the contract is signed, no modifications can be made. It’s advisable to have a friend or colleague review the lease with you before finalizing it.

  2. Minor adjustments to the rented property, such as changing fixtures, are permissible without explicit consent. However, for any significant alterations, it is essential to obtain written approval from your landlord.

  3. Subletting or sharing the apartment you are renting is illegal without obtaining written consent from your landlord.

  4. The tenant is responsible for maintaining the property in good condition. In the event of any damages to the property, the tenant is required to bear the full cost of repairs at the conclusion of the rental term.

Additional Rental Tips for the UAE

Additional Tips for Renting in the UAE:

  1. Pet-Friendly Accommodation: If you plan to reside in a rented apartment with a pet, ensure that the apartment complex you choose is pet-friendly.

  2. Document Care: Be meticulous in completing all rental paperwork and maintain copies of all signed documents, including the rental agreement and deposit receipts.

  3. Considerate Neighbors: When hosting guests or organizing events, it’s considerate to check with your neighbors and make an effort to keep noise levels in check. Keep in mind that neighbors have the right to contact the authorities if noise becomes excessive.

  4. Respectful Observance of Ramadan: During the Holy Month of Ramadan (with varying dates each year), be mindful of public behavior, particularly in relation to eating and drinking in public areas during fasting hours.

Utility Services, Internet, and Telephone Lines in a Rented Apartment in the UAE

Unless you are residing in a serviced apartment, you will be responsible for setting up your own telecommunications services (landline, Wi-Fi, etc.) and covering the costs of electricity, water, and other utilities.

As previously mentioned, air-conditioning expenses are typically included in your rent and paid by the landlord.

If the rented apartment lacks water, gas, or electricity connections, you will need to make these arrangements independently. Alternatively, you can request your agent’s assistance for a fee or as part of your agreement. Many properties in the UAE come with electric cooking facilities, reducing the need for a gas connection.


In conclusion, the process of relocating to the United Arab Emirates necessitates a thorough search for a home in UAE. Given the diverse influx of expatriates, there’s a broad spectrum of housing choices available. It is imperative to clarify with your employer whether a housing allowance is part of the package before committing to a contract, as this greatly influences your search for a home in UAE.

As you embark on your search for a home in UAE, consider factors such as location, amenities, and proximity to essential facilities. Engaging with local real estate agents and utilizing online platforms dedicated to real estate in the UAE can provide valuable guidance and options.

Ensuring that your search for a home in UAE is well-informed and comprehensive is crucial for a smooth transition to life in this dynamic country. By taking the time to explore various housing options, you enhance the likelihood of finding a comfortable and suitable residence in the diverse and vibrant landscape of the United Arab Emirates.