Homefront: 'Is it cheaper to rent an Airbnb apartment rather than sign up for a one-year lease?'

There are a range of costs to consider if you choose to reside in a holiday property, including service and damage fees, local taxes and cleaning charges

RYP3WE Amazing Dubai city center at sunrise, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Alamy

I recently moved to the UAE for a one-year work assignment. I have been staying in a hotel for a few days but my employer has asked me to look for an apartment with a one-year lease.

I am not keen on signing up for a traditional one-year apartment lease with a real estate broker. Instead, I have been told that several Airbnb holiday homes are now being offered on long-term residential leases.

What are the pros and cons of renting a holiday home for the long term with a management company? Are there any hidden fees that I need to watch out for? Will I have to pay a commission to the management company?

I am also considering hotel apartments or serviced apartments. Do these come at a rental premium to a traditional residential lease? Please advise. KV, Dubai

If you use an agent registered with the Real Estate Regulatory Agency, there are many advantages associated with the services of a real estate broker. Contrary to belief, brokers have the knowledge and expertise to offer any prospect the benefits that will lead to a successful rent or sale.

A one-year rental is regarded as a long-term tenancy, therefore limiting yourself to only using management or holiday home companies for your search could prove to be a mistake in terms of diversity of inventory.

The only advantage I see to use a management company for your search would be that the property will most likely be managed by them. This will help if there are any maintenance issues in the future. Being able to get hold of the landlord to resolve any maintenance issues can be a pain when they don't reply quickly.

If you rent a property through Airbnb, you will be charged a service fee, a damage deposit fee and the owner will also collect local taxes (if any). The owner can also set the charge for cleaning their property and charge for extra occupants, so please check any small print.

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Hotel and service departments come at a premium due to the services offered, which are sought-after by busy working individuals

Using a management company (assuming they have a real estate licence from the Department of Economic Development) or a real estate broker will attract a commission of approximately 5 per cent of the rental contract amount.

Hotel and serviced apartments come at a premium due to the services offered, which are sought-after by busy working individuals. Often, these apartments come with many extras included, such as all bills, internet and media packages including TV, maid, cleaning service and access to a gym and pool.

Keep all options open to select the right property after speaking to all concerned.

If a landlord wishes to increase the rent of a specific residential unit according to the Real Estate Regulatory Agency's Rent Index, does the notice need to be sent through a registered mailing service or would a simple email with a 90-day notice period in writing be enough?  EF, Dubai

When it comes to changes to an existing rental contract, the landlord or tenant needs to communicate the changes by giving 90 days' notice.

However, these types of notifications do not have to be sent through a notary public or registered mail. As long as they are in writing, they are legal.

The easiest and perhaps best way would be to send an email and follow up with a WhatsApp message to the tenant.

Mario Volpi is the sales and leasing manager at Engel & Volkers. He has worked in the property sector for more than 35 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

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