Finding Somewhere to Live in Dubai - Expat Property

Published: 10 Sep at 7 PM
Want to get involved? Become a Featured Expat and take our interview.
Become a Local Expert and contribute articles.
Get in touch today!
Filed: Expat Guide to Dubai,United Arab Emirates
Finding somewhere to live, aside from your visa processes, is probably one of the most important parts of your move to Dubai. Maybe your partner will have arrived before you and have found somewhere to live already. Or maybe your employer is providing accommodation as part of your contract, in which case you're lucky. Maybe you will live in a hotel for the first few weeks in Dubai while you suss out areas and decided what sort of accommodation you require. Whatever your situation finding the right location and the right apartment will help you settle into your new life in Dubai.

In my case, my partner arrived in Dubai 3 months before me, but his employer didn't supply him with accommodation so that was our task. From afar I began researching areas, which met our requirements, and thanks to many a Skype conference, we came up with a short list of areas to look at.

We had some quite specific requirements as part of our search; we wanted a 1 or 2 bedroom apartment, in a dog friendly area and more importantly in a dog friendly building. We wanted to be close to amenities like restaurants, shops, supermarkets etc. and because I don't drive, we needed to be some where with good accessibility to transport, like taxis and the metro.

We did a lot of research about areas to live in, and this website has a great amount of information, with details about all sorts of areas across Dubai, plus video interviews with residents. Dubizzle, Property Finder AE, and Better Homes are all great websites to browse apartments online.

If like us you need a dog friendly area, I would say the best areas to check out are Arabian Ranches, The Greens, The Springs, Dubai Marina and The Green Community. You can also check out this article and this article for information about dog friendly areas to live.

We narrowed our search down to a few areas, which included Dubai Marina, Al Barsha and The Greens. All three communities are relatively dog friendly and have good accessibility in terms of road networks (my partner drives a lot for work so being able to access major highways easily was also important) and had plenty of transport options for me.

The Greens is a very expat orientated community, which offers apartments in low-rise buildings and townhouses and has lots of open space and several lakes to walk the dog around. The Greens is a small community with on site facilities like swimming pools and gyms, plus there are amenities like a supermarket, salons, shops and coffee places all within the area. However the availability of 1-bedroom apartments within our price range at the time was slim and ultimately this area was scraped quite quickly.

Al Barsha is a large area popular with expats and families. It is close to the Mall of Emirates, which means lots of amenities close by, but in terms of transport, depending on where in Al Barsha you live, the metro is quite a walk away. Plus due to its proximity to the Mall of Emirates we weren't sure whether this would cause lots of congestion and problems with traffic.

The third area we looked at was Dubai Marina. It is a larger community with lots of high-rise residential buildings in close proximity to Jumeirah Beach Residence and as such the beach. The area is predominantly dog friendly and when we were looking, you were able to walk dogs along the Marina promenade. This unfortunately has since changed and dogs are no longer allowed on the promenade but the area, as a whole is still dog friendly.

Dubai Marina is around 8km long and is lined with hotels, bars, restaurants, shops and it's own Dubai Marina Mall. Taxis are plentiful in this area and there are two metro stations covering the area, Dubai Marina metro station and Jumeirah lake towers (JLT) metro station. They're also currently building a tramline, which will cover the whole of Dubai Marina from one end to the other, and it will include Jumeirah beach residence once completed. All of the above made Dubai Marina an easy choice for us, but since it is a popular area with expats, rent prices can be rather high for even a simple one-bedroom apartment.

We were lucky and found a very good one-bedroom apartment, at a reasonable price from a landlord who wanted only English tenants and was happy to accept the dog. Located at the far end of the Marina, for some this wouldn't be the ideal location as you are a little walk away from the main attractions of the Marina. But for us it is perfect; the metro is a 10-minute walk away, there is a large unused area of land perfect for walking the dog and it is quite quiet. And we can walk to restaurants and hotels and bars within a few minutes when we want. Plus the congestion at this end of the Marina is minimal.

My best piece of advice when looking for somewhere to live in Dubai is to get together your specific requirements before looking, pick a budget and assess the logistics of an area before committing to it. Everyone, or most people in Dubai drive so certain areas are a trap for traffic. I

It is also worth talking about how rent works here. You will have estate agency fees to cover, Ejari fee (Ejari is a government initiative to help relationships between landlords and tenants and every tendency contract must be registered with Ejari), DEWA connection fee (DEWA is the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority and all bills are done through one account) plus in Dubai rent is usually required in one or two cheques for the whole year. However it is becoming more common to find landlords willing to take three or four dated cheques for the years rent. It is worth bearing in mind though that even if it is three cheques you will need a considerable sum of money available to pay the first cheque immediately.

It is also important to check what is covered in your rent, because many landlords include the air conditioning, which is a great bonus for the tenant, but don’t take this for granted so check your contract. Also before signing any agreement, you should check with the building management that your landlord has paid any common fees owed. This is important because if not, you may not be allowed to use communal areas like the gym or the pool.

Navigating the Dubai rental market can be a little scary but as long as you know your requirements, stick to your budget and ensure you have registered with the correct authorities, you will be fine. This article offers some great basic tips for renting in Dubai.
And check out this Time Out Dubai article for their essential guide to renting in Dubai.

About the author

Expat Blog ListingMimi is a British expat living in United Arab Emirates. Blog description: The life and loves of an expat now living in Dubai, have relocated from Cyprus. From food to fashion, photography, design, art, culture, lifestyle and the weather.
Please share:

Comments » No published comments just yet for this article...

Feel free to have your say on this item. Go on... be the first!

Tell us Your Thoughts On This Piece:

Your Name *
Email * (not published, needs verification one time only)
  • Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • RSS feed
  • Facebook

Articles by Category

Now featuring 633 expat interviews


Latest Headlines