In times gone by, the cost of accommodation rental had been reasonable in the UAE, but from 2002,
rents have started increase almost exponentially. Dubai rents in particular were the first to start such a trend but it has now followed across the other Emirates. These increases have happened for a number of reasons including shortage of smaller sized apartments, increased demand as the population grows and lack of enforced capping meaning that some landlords are charging what they feel they can obtain.
We have covered other cost of living elements in our cost of living spreadsheet but since many worry about accommodation rents and its significant percentage of total living costs, we are providing some general guidelines so that it is possible to get an idea of what you would likely pay. We have not covered purchasing of property. We simply wanted to provide an indication to enable you to budget prior to moving Dubai or Abu Dhabi.
Methodology and Points of Note
Our methodology was simple in order to provide uncomplicated base data. We took publicly available data to create ranges and plugged these into the spreadsheet. The data sources were from classified sections of the daily newspapers, from rental agent sites, from other web resources. We also obtained clarification from a couple of rental agents to double check that our ranges were, in the main, correct for relevant areas.
We have broken down both Abu Dhabi and Dubai by area and attempted to provide information where available. It should be noted that some areas have been omitted due to lack of availability of data. Also, some data on particular types of accommodation size are not available. This may be due to the fact that there are not those types of housing in that area or that they are all occupied or even that there was no data available. Similarly, we have excluded sizes which are beyond the range that we have shown. For example, we have not provided the price for 7 bedroom flats or 9 bedroom villas. These may be available in some areas but this is beyond our scope.
The reason why we have not provided an average rental is that it would be unfair to provide an average price, as, in some areas, the range is significant enough that your total actual cost of living could be more than 40% different to what you have calculated.
We have specifically not included the price of actual rentals that tenants currently pay as these may not be indicative of the price, should the housing in question come up for renewal or go to a new tenant. Specific reference to this includes a Dubai particular rental cap of 15% per tenant. The Federal Law Number 2 of 1994 states that any contract more than 2 years needs to be honored at specified contract rate, but for rentals of 2 years or less, landlords can only increase the rental rate by a maximum of 20% during the contract period. While increases may not be enforced, there is no law prohibiting an increase once the contract is up either to an existing tenant or to a new tenant.
Naturally, similar roomed housing may have different square footage. This may be similar or different per region. We have not attempted to differentiate on square footage, but solely on number of bedrooms. We have also not included the fact that housing may or may not include a maids living area. For reference, the number of bedrooms excludes this area, if it were available.
Each range that is provided is based on at least 3 separate pieces of data. More often than not, it is based on a good deal more (up to 20 in some cases), but if there was less than 3 pieces of data, we did not provide a range. Any annual service fees, which may or may not be required for upkeep of communal areas has not been included as part of this collation. For some apartments this may be as much as 20% of the rental price again, but may indeed be already included in the rental.
Finally, the data is provided with a disclaimer that the information is intended to assist you in making your decisions, but that you should not base all your decisions on any sole resource. We have attempted to sense check the data in a number of ways, but you should not base your decisions solely on the information that we have provided. All that we are saying is that it is possible to obtain rental of housing within a certain range, at the point of writing, within listed areas. We are not necessarily saying that in areas where there is no range provided that it is not possible to rent housing – we were just not able to obtain hard accurate data in these instances.
Payment of rent in the west usually follows the form of paying monthly, perhaps by direct debit. The same is not necessarily the case here in the UAE. Some landlords expect payment a year in advance while others accept post dated cheques on a bi-annual or quarterly basis. This may require you to take a loan at up to 10% or budget accordingly, increasing the price in real terms. Bear in mind also, that rental prices are still increasing on an annual basis and have yet to stabilise. The numbers that we have quoted on the spreadsheet are annual figures payable in advance.
How to use the data
After having carried out initial cost of living estimates, it would make sense to add this annual upfront cost to work out your expenditure in comparison to a potential remuneration that is offered to you. This will enable a comparison like for like with current living arrangements in your home country. It may be sensible to add contingencies, perhaps 10% to the overall cost. Bear in mind that there are no official taxes currently in place in the UAE.
The spreadsheet is not intended to assist companies in composing compensation schemes, but is merely an information source for those considering staying in the UAE for a period of time, to give a general indication of what rentals in certain areas would cost. It does not account for furnished accommodation or short term leases.
If you have any suggestions, additions or corrections please contact us.
Any update to the spreadsheet will be applied to this file. If you need to know where the locations are, check out our maps which will point you in the right direction.
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Rental Prices in Dubai 2010