Homefront: 'Can a Dubai resident rent a holiday home in the emirate?'

The prospective tenant wants clarity on the regulations around the leasing of holiday homes to UAE visa holders

The Dubai resident wants to rent out the holiday property for a year. Courtesy: Allsopp and Allsopp
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We recently came across a beautiful property advert on a classifieds website. The agent later told us the apartment is managed/ maintained by a Dubai Tourism Commerce Marketing-registered company as a holiday home. They are leasing out this holiday home for a year and it is subject to annual renewal. My queries are:

  1. Are Dubai resident visa holders eligible to lease this property? Or is this property only meant for tourists/visitors?
  2. The Ejari and Dewa will be in the name of the agency but they tell us that they will forward the Dewa bills to us and we can make the payment directly to Dewa. To my understanding holiday homes have to be provided with Dewa and internet inclusive. Is that correct?
  3. The Ejari is not in our name, so do we hold any legal ground if there are any conflicts of interest in the future?  
  4. Does the Dubai Land Department or Real Estate Regulatory Agency rules apply to holiday homes as well?
  5. The rent is being collected by the agency, so should we insist on the cheque be drawn in favor of the owner? 
  6. Rera rules stipulate particular conditions in which the tenant can be asked to vacate the property. Do the same rules apply here or can the agency give us a notice period and ask us to vacate the property, since the Ejari is in the name of the agency? And can we decline to vacate? 
  7. Since the Ejari and Dewa will be in the name of the agency, what happens if we have to renew our residence visa? Will the DTCM holiday home tenancy contract be sufficient to renew our visa? DP, Dubai 

The rental and operation of holiday homes is an activity restricted to licensed operators and only an individual can be a licensee but it is also quite common for individuals to use the services of a company that in turn holds a holiday home license from the DTCM. The operator should maintain an insurance policy in order to cover for damage and loss occurring in the holiday home.

Dubai residents can rent holiday or serviced apartments just like anyone else; these can be let on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis.

You are correct about the Dewa. Water and electricity is included in the rent without additional charge. The contract you sign is the document that both parties have to adhere to, any deviations to these agreed clauses could result in fines or eviction

Rera rules do not apply to holiday homes, however. As stated and pursuant to decree 41 of 2013, any person who wishes to operate a holiday home in Dubai has to observe and comply with the licensing requirements of the DTCM.

The rent can be collected by the agency but it should be in the name of the owner.

Given that Rera rules do not apply, a short-term tenant does not have quite the same protection as long-term tenants. Most short-term/holiday let contracts will stipulate that the operator has the right to evict giving at least three months notice. Assuming the reason for eviction is legitimate, you cannot refuse to vacate.

When the rental contract is drawn up and completed with signatures etc., the operator issues a paper outlining the details of the tenancy which is written in English and Arabic, this paper is then used at immigration to renew visas or sponsor individuals therefore it acts like an Ejari certificate.

Mario Volpi is the sales and leasing manager at Engel & VolkersHe has worked in the property sector for 34 years in London and Dubai.

The opinions expressed do not constitute legal advice and are provided for information only. Please send any questions to mario.volpi@engelvoelkers.com