'Too much for us to afford': Dubai residents dread rent increase after Rera index update

Hundreds are already seeing increases — and based on a KT Poll, some are facing a hike of more than 20 per cent


Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Thu 7 Mar 2024, 2:18 PM

Last updated: Thu 7 Mar 2024, 10:58 PM

In the three years Dubai resident Abin George has lived in his Jebel Ali apartment, his annual rent has gone up by Dh19,000. With the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (Rera) index being updated, the long-time expat is anticipating a higher-than-usual rental increase.

The revised index is likely to affect tenants who have been living in the same properties for over two years, experts said.

“We are already paying Dh59,000 but with the new rental index, I think rents are going higher,” said George.

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Despite the looming hike, the expat has no intentions of moving out. “I work in Abu Dhabi and the location of our community is suitable for me as I travel every day,” he said.

“Moreover, if I wanted to move out now, I wouldn’t get a similar apartment for anything less than Dh70,000 in the current market. Moving will cost an additional Dh5,000. So, we are planning to stay put.”

With the new Rera calculator update, rents could rise by up to 20 per cent, experts said.

Hundreds of residents are already seeing increases — and 55 per cent of respondents to a KT Poll said they could pay 5 to 10 per cent more for rent this year. For 23 per cent of those surveyed, the hike could even go beyond 20 per cent.

Dreading hikes

Several residents are dreading the rent hike notice this year. Expat Rory, who lives in Dubai Sports City, is already losing sleep as his tenancy contract is expiring in June.

“I am paying Dh130,000 for my three-bedroom townhouse,” he said. “In the last two years, my landlord has increased the rent only by Dh5,000 per year. However, I just checked the Rera index and this year, he is entitled to increase the rent by at least Dh19,000. That would be way too much for us to afford."

"The only reason we are staying here is because this house is close to my children’s school. I have already begun looking for other places, but everything is really expensive. I am not sure what to do now," Rory added.

Another concerned tenant is Wasim Mohammed, who lives in a four-bedroom villa in Mirdif. “We moved here in 2021 and the terms of the contract was that the rent would be fixed for three years,” he said. “Our tenancy contract is due for renewal in December 2024. I don’t even want to think about how much the landlord will increase the rent by. I am paying way below the Rera index because the rent was fixed three years ago.”

Nousheen, who lived with her family in a one-bed apartment in Discovery Gardens for four years, is planning to vacate her place.

“I was paying Dh42,000 per year for my apartment,” she said. “This year, my landlord said he will not renew my contract unless I agree to pay Dh60,000 per year as that is the market price. Now, he has also served me legal notice to vacate the property this year. After living in this same place for four years, it is difficult to move. Also, it is extremely hard to find other apartments for an affordable rent in this area near any metro station for that matter.”


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