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The Property Search

Finding a property to rent in Dubai can sometimes be overwhelming with small print, different laws, dealing with absent landlords and all the negotiations so the best way to begin the property search is with a fully qualified agent with good local knowledge. The majority of people living in Dubai are expats and therefore many of them are only here for a few years so many prefer to rent rather than buy. Over the years supply of rental properties has become a lot more abundant but which one should you choose?

The first step is to find a reputable property agent as most landlords deal with agents rather than advertising directly in the press. If you have children I strongly recommend finding out which school they will be accepted into before searching for your property as you don’t want to find your dream home only to find it is a painful commute each way to school let alone after school activities.

Next decide on what your budget is going to be. Do bear in mind there will also be a 5% municipality charge on top of the rent so budget for this as well. Do you want an apartment or villa and how many bedrooms. If you are used to for example three bedrooms try and opt for four as Dubai is a tourist hot spot easily accessible from all over the world and after a few months you will soon be wondering if you are running a small hotel but with that extra bedroom at least you won’t have back ache after nights curled up on the fold down bed!

Where to live that is the big question. Dubai has grown exponentially over the last five years. It is unrecognizable to anyone who lived here 15 years ago when most expats lived in Jumeirah 1 and went to Jebel Ali on their Eid breaks. Nowadays people still live in Jumeirah but that now stretches up to Jumeirah 3 running into Umm Suqueim. These areas a filled with villas standing alone or in small compounds with pools. Some of the villas are a bit dated but many landlords are upgrading them to compete with the newer villas available and there is no doubt their location is fantastic for access to the beach and the main business areas of Dubai.

Newer villas in gated community areas are to be found in areas such as Arabian Ranches, The Meadows, Jumeirah Islands, The Villa. These communities have facilities such as community pools, tennis courts, cycling trails, shops, medical centers and some have schools. The villas are a mixture of smaller town houses up to sprawling seven bedroom villas. These areas are very popular with expatriate families. With the new road network system in Dubai these villas are all very accessible. Apartments are found along Sheikh Zayed Road, The Marina, Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR), Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT), The Greens and in older parts of town such as Karama and Satwa and of course Deira.

Once you have decided on all of the above it’s time to start your search. Most of the time you will be shown a property that is empty but if it is not try to look beyond the current tenants choice of décor. Maybe the property has just been vacated and is a bit dirty but don’t worry it will be cleaned. Always negotiate to have the villa handed over to you freshly painted with all the current picture hooks taken out.

Properties in Dubai are generally rented unfurnished. Unfurnished can mean the property comes with nothing apart from the air-conditioning units or it could mean it is supplied with a cooker and curtains but there is no set rule. Many apartments come inclusive of air-conditioning bills which is a bonus. The state your property is handed over to you is how you should hand it back so if you plan to put loads of shelves up plan to take them down when you leave.

When you walk around the villa it will feel really hot but don’t let this put you off as it will just be that the a/c has been of for a few weeks. If the property has a garden check the condition of it – will you need to spend a lot making it a garden you can use? Does it have a football pitch size of a garden? This may seem great at first glance but bear in mind it will cost you a fortune to water. Is there a pool? Who is going to pay for the upkeep of this? Before signing any tenancy agreement check the maintenance part of the contract. Most landlords will take care of maintaining the air-conditioning and plumbing problems IE major maintenance and minor will come under the tenants responsibility.

Many residential areas will appear quiet during the day and easy to get to but revisit a few of your favorite choices to see what the traffic is like getting to them at peak times. Have a look around you and check if there is a mosque next door as this may keep you awake when it is call to prayer. Talk to colleagues to get the inside on areas that you think would suit you and your family just in case there is something you may have missed.

The property rental market is a mature business in Dubai but always be on guard for unscrupulous agents.

If you require the assistance of a Move One Relocation agent to help you with your home search, do not hesitate to contact us at

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