UAE residents negotiate better rental rates in tenant-friendly market

According to dubizzle Property, 62 per cent of tenants secured lower rent in the past 12 months

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - December 10, 2018: Neighbourhood profile of Business Bay. Monday the 10th of December 2018 at Executive Towers, Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National

More than six in 10 UAE tenants negotiated a rent decrease on their existing property in the last year, a new poll from real estate portal dubizzle Property found.

According to the poll of 1,400 conducted in November, 62 per cent said they had successfully reduced their rent in the past 12 months, with 18 per cent of those polled securing a decrease of more than 15 per cent of their annual rent.

“With UAE real estate becoming more affordable, property-seekers and tenants have more bargaining power to ensure they are getting an accurate market price for their properties,” said Samer Abdin, general manager of dubizzle Property, in a statement.

Real estate rental prices have declined throughout 2018, as the fight for affordability persists, according to data from market analyst Reidin.

Average rental values in Dubai declined by 9.8 per cent in September, while in Abu Dhabi, rental prices declined at a steeper 11.2 per cent on average in September. Apartment rental rates in Abu Dhabi fell by 11.7 per cent annually and villas by 9.9 per cent.

According to dubizzle Property’s poll, 7 per cent of respondents negotiated a rent decrease of 10 to 15 per cent in the last year, while a fifth negotiated a 5 to 10 per cent reduction. Just under four in 10 (38 per cent) said their rent remained the same.

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Tenants used a variety of tools to increase their bargaining power with their landlords, said the company.

While more than a third (37 per cent) credited online property platforms and the Dubai Land Department calculator as a means to compare similar property prices to negotiate a decrease, 19 per cent of respondents said reducing the number of rental cheques was a tool for negotiation.

For 14 per cent of respondents, maintenance and chiller fees were put forward for negotiation.

An October study from financial comparison site yallacompare found that almost half of UAE tenants are paying more in rent that they did a year ago.

“It appears that lower prices are only being applied to new property listings," said Jonathan Rawling, chief financial officer of yallacompare, said at the time. "Those who are staying put under existing contracts – who represent the majority of the population – aren’t seeing the benefits of these reduced prices."

Property prices in the UAE have slumped since 2014 with the oil-price rout that dented economic growth, while an increase in supply and lower housing benefits contributed to the decline.

Mr Abdin added: “When making the important decision about where to live, we encourage users to do their research to ensure they are getting a competitive rental agreement. As the UAE moves further in favour of tenants, it is becoming a more competitive and attractive place to live.”

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