Renting Property – The Search

Finding a property to call home for a year or more is no easy task in Dubai. This series - Renting Property - will point you in the right direction.

Updated 03-May-2015  

There are thousands of properties advertised on the market at any moment in time but where do you find the right property in the right location? How do you make sure you’re renting a property which actually exists?

The Search

Before you even view properties where do you start?

Obviously, the rental rate, location and  number of bedrooms are very important but then there are the little things which may be a deciding factor, e.g. is there a balcony, are the kitchen white goods included, how close is the building to the metro or public transport, on which floor is the flat located, is there a park nearby, are pets allowed etc.  What’s important to one person will not be to another.  Some buildings are now completely non-smoking, so have a list of questions you would like answered ready for the real estate agent.

If you’ve been in Dubai for a few years you will know the ins and outs of finding a suitable property but here are the ‘heads up’ for those of us who haven’t done this before.

You have these options:  find a decent real estate agent who is properly registered, find a friend, find a friend of a friend, ask the security on duty at the property (they’ll be able to tell you the name of at least one agent or put you in contact with the developer), through the various developers’ websites or through the property websites (but be warned, don’t believe everything you see on these sites).  If you’re lucky enough to have a good relocation agent then they’re going to do all the leg work and will work with reputable property brokers but make sure you give them an exact brief.  A good relocation agent will take time to discuss your requirements in full and understand the market and the city fully. Have a list of questions ready and phone around. Listen carefully to the answers given and compare them with answers from the other agents you phone. Take time to do this unless the agent has come highly recommended by a friend. You want an agent who is efficient, courteous with an intelligent view of the market. Just keep double-checking any information. In Dubai you can ask the same question of 20 different people and get 20 different answers, easily!  So, be warned, be smart and keep yourself (and your money) safe.

There do not appear to be any hard and fast rules about advertising.  Official, registered real estate agents should have all the necessary documentation when advertising a property as any agreement with the owner would require certain documents, e.g. Title Deed and passport copy of owner.  That’s on the good websites.  The others appear to be a bit more creative.

The downside to all Dubai property websites is that there are a number of properties which have either already been rented out (yes, really) and/or have not been removed for whatever reason, or are basically ‘hooks’ for you to make that call and be sucked into the agents’ sales talk.

Remember you should never get a cold call from a real estate agent.

Don’t imagine for one minute that all agents will respond to your phone calls.  We called 6 agents on one particular website who were advertising a one bed property (going by the images the same property was not being advertised by the 6 different agents) in the Downtown area of Dubai.  No-one answered. We then sent the same 6 a text message. One responded. So expect the unexpected!

RERA is trying to tidy up the real estate industry in relation to real estate brokers but they still have a long way to go.  Do not use agents who are not registered. Always ask for their broker card. If you have any queries contact RERA or the Land Department – they’ll try to help you.  If you’re really stuck send us an email and we’ll find a decent agent to answer your query.


The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only. Readers are encouraged to seek appropriate independent legal advice.

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