Sublets are tempting when rental lists are long

When waiting lists are long, a quiet deal can be tempting

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Dubai // Subleasing is an affordable but illegal housing arrangement that is common in Dubai, although it a more comfortable option than others.

It is common in popular developments like The Gardens, developed by Nakheel. The modestly priced community, near a mall and on the way to Abu Dhabi, is so popular that its waiting list has stretched for as long as a year.

"The rents were so much cheaper," said one resident from Lebanon who declined to be named.

She and a friend rented a three-bedroom apartment from a subletter (a friend of a friend) for Dh55,000 in 2008, Dh85,000 in 2009 and Dh65,000 in 2010.  The prices were much lower than what the two could have found elsewhere, despite the Dh10,000 to Dh40,000 margin that the subletter charged each year.

When the roommate left the country halfway through last year, the resident sublet the empty room to a stranger she found on - also an illegal practice.

Nakheel did not catch them in their arrangement, although she called the company regularly to deal with maintenance issues.

In general, the developer tries to report subletters to the authorities, a spokesperson said: "Tenants who are leasing with Nakheel or from the freehold owners of apartments are not allowed to sublet units in part or in full, following the local regulations."

The Land Department did not respond to requests for comment.