Setting Up Home

Moving house or leaving your rented property? This is everything you’ll need to do

Whether you’re packing up and leaving the emirate for good, or are simply moving home within Dubai, here’s a checklist exit strategy

Young man carrying cardboard box in new home
There are lots of things to consider before moving home. Credit│Shutterstock

So, your tenancy contract is coming to an end and it’s time to decide whether to stay or go. Most landlords or management companies will send out a renewal notice (with updated terms) well ahead of time, but tenants are required to give notice or confirm renewal 90 days in advance. If you’re on your way out, here’s how it goes…

Get the place looking good

Normal wear and tear aside, you’re legally required to hand over your apartment or villa in pristine condition. This means that walls need to be restored to their original colour and condition, and that everything is generally in good working order. Failure to do so could see you lose a chunk of your security deposit.

Ready for inspection

The landlord, management company or appointed agent will inspect the property to make sure all is in order. The final step is to hand back the keys, at which point your deposit should be returned.

Cut the utility connections

On the day your tenancy expires, you need to either call or put in an online request to DEWA to let them know you’re moving out and to prepare the final bill. This usually takes 24 hours. There’s a Dhs120-320 disconnection charge (excluding VAT), plus final bill amount. Any DEWA deposit will be refunded. If you already have a new pad, you can transfer your account through the online ‘Move To’ service. With Empower, it’s a similar process but you’ll also need to visit their offices in person to make the final payment and get clearance. 

Hang up on your phone line

For Du, call their customer care line (800 155) at least three days prior to moving out to request a 72-hour call-back to explain the process, then pop into one of the customer care centres to pay your final bill (and collect any monies owed). It’s a similar story with Etisalat (800 101). If you have an eLife package, don’t forget to read the small print, as you’ll probably be locked into a contracted period with penalties for early cancellation, plus there’s a standard 30-day cancellation notice period. 

What if you’re staying in Dubai?

Accounts can be transferred fairly easily. Call the helpline at least four working days before you relocate to set the wheels in motion and schedule a technician visit to your new place (fees apply). Same as moving in, some communities will require you to obtain a moving-out permit. Some buildings may also request a landlord NOC.

Real estate agent workplace with computer keyboard, house key on a house shaped key chain, smartphone top view white background
Real estate agent workplace. Credit│Shutterstock

What if you need to break your rental contract?

Need to cut short your tenancy contract? Check the small print for early exit penalty clauses. Also, don’t forget that your current Ejari contract remains live until all issues are resolved. If you have issued post-dated cheques, ask for them to be returned or written confirmation of non-encashment.

Things to think about before signing on the dotted line:

  • What’s going on in the ’hood? Are there any major construction projects coming up that could drive you crazy noise-wise or potentially affect your home, such as blocking out the natural light  
  • The RERA Rental Increase Calculator to make sure that you’re paying a fair rate for the area. Find it at Dubai Land’s government website.
  • If you think you’re paying over the odds, negotiate! If the situation isn’t resolved and the RERA Rental Increase Calculator is in your favour, consider filing a complaint with the Dubai Land Department’s Rental Dispute Settlement Centre. A 3.5% fee (based on total annual rent) is payable, but if you win the case, this is refunded. Other fees may apply 
  • It’s also worth negotiating terms and conditions if you are looking for a better deal, such as paying in four or more rather than fewer cheques, or asking for an extra parking space

Notice of eviction

An unexpected eviction notice can be a shock to the system, so be aware of your rights. If your landlord wants to move into the property himself or sell it, a written 12-month notice period is required. Eviction (upon expiration of current contract) is only possible if the landlord plans to demolish the property, is selling, has immediate family moving in, or if it needs serious maintenance/renovation (Dubai Municipality technical report required).

If you’re considering buying, read our guide on switching from renter to home owner and before you physically move-in, follow these house cleaning and DIY tips

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