Coronavirus Pandemic

Coronavirus: Moving houses to cost more in Dubai amid restrictions

Waheed Abbas/Dubai
Filed on April 15, 2020 | Last updated on April 15, 2020 at 07.41 am
Covid-19, coronavirus, moving houses, shifting, movers and packers


Tenants need to obtain a move-out permit from their landlords before getting in touch with a moving company.

The cost of packing and moving to a new house has increased by up to 40 per cent in Dubai, according to some companies.

The residents who move homes during the Covid-19 restrictions in Dubai have to obtain a permit from authorities, which the moving companies can obtain on their behalf.

Officials of moving companies said that due to movement restrictions in the wake of the nationwide sterilisation programme, they are able to work from 8am to 2pm only. In addition, they deploy only three people on a single vehicle to transport goods to maintain social distancing in line with the authorities' guidelines. All these steps are quite time-consuming and have increased the cost for the companies, which forced them to pass it on to the consumers. On average, companies are now shifting up to 20 families a day.

Mohammed Owais, sales executive at Sara Movers and Packers, said if someone wants to move to a new house, they have to obtain permission themselves and then share it with them.

"Charges have increased since the outbreak of Covid-19 and movement restrictions came into place. Previously, charges to shift a studio apartment's stuff was around Dh1,000-1,200 but it has now increased to Dh1,400-1,500. The reason is that while it used to cost us Dh600-700 earlier, now it costs us around Dh1,100.

"We now work between 8am and 2pm due to the restrictions on private sector. All the workers have to return to their accommodation by 2pm in line with the guidelines of the authorities. In addition, we have to take all precautionary measures such as wearing masks, gloves and using sanitisers during the work," he said.

According to Owais, shifting a studio apartment was only a day's job earlier, but now it takes two days. "Also, we use only one truck and allow only four people to sit in the vehicle due to social distance guidelines. All these factors have led to higher costs for us," said Owais.

Hamid Lodhi, CEO of Zuhal Pack International, also agreed that the cost has gone up as companies work shorter hours.

Zulha Pack has suspended operations in order to protect its employees and customers. Lodhi hopes to resume operations once the restrictions are lifted. "We don't want to put our workers and customers at risk. Moving household goods is something that is avoidable and people can wait."

Richard Waind, managing director at Better Homes, said some people are looking to move either out of necessity, or they see this as an opportunity to get a good deal.

"This week, we had clarification that removal firms are operating and we have linked up with a courier service to allow us to get tenancy contracts signed. While face-to-face viewings are not taking place, prospective tenants who are already familiar with the area and types of properties they are looking for, are open to virtual viewings," he said.

"We have seen an increase in tenant enquiries from residents in apartments who are considering to shift for more space. We have closed a number of villa leases from tenants who have taken the opportunity to move now to a property they feel more comfortable spending time at home," said Richard.

Lynnette Abad, director of research and data at Property Finder, said life has not stopped as people are moving and properties are still being transferred.

How to move houses while movement restrictions are in place

According to Property Finder, people need to obtain a move out permit from their landlord if they live in a community or building and a move in permit from new residential premises.

Once they have procured these, they need to get in touch with a moving company that is working under the current conditions. The ones that are working can legally obtain all permits needed to carry out the move.   

Moving permits for the family could be obtained through the Dubai permits website individually

People should click on emergency under the personal permits tab and explain the reason for their shifting in it and request the maximum duration they need for the move. If the move is going to take longer than a day, they must apply for the second day separately. For the duration of the permit, the residents are allowed to move between the old and new properties.

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