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Not until recently have expats been able to own property in the United Arab Emirates [UAE], which limited non GCC nationals to lease property to live in. Even though it is now possible to own freehold property on Dubai, Ajman, and Ras Al Khaimah, renting of property will always be the dominant property market in the Emirates.

Rental Requirements
In order to rent property in the United Arab Emirates, you will normally have to pay for the entire year of tenancy either in cash or checks. If payment is made by cheques, most landlords will limit it to 2 to 4 cheque payments. In addition to the tenancy payment, if the flat/apartment/condo or house/villa was taken through a property agency, then a 5% commission is required to be paid to them. Most premises will require the payment of a refundable security deposit of 500 to 5,000 dirhams. As utility bills are paid by a tenant, it is normally required that a refundable deposit of 1,000 to 2,000 dirhams be paid to the landlord for usage of water, electricity and gas. Some premises also require the payment of a 10% municipal tax (Sharjah has a 5% municipal tax).

Rental Laws
Tenancy contracts in the United Arab Emirates normally last for a year, with exception to Sharjah which is normally for three years, and within that time landlords are not permitted to increase the rental price until it requires renewal. At the time of renewal, a landlord is not permitted to increase the rent by more than 20% (15% in Dubai as of 12th Nov. 2005). If a dispute happens between a tenant and landlord on the price increase, the issue should be taken to the Municipality's Rent Control Committee to settle. To file a case with the Rent Control Committee will cost 400 or 500 dirhams and will take normally take between a few weeks or months before being summoned to appear before the committee. If the case is won, then the fee paid to file a case will be paid for by the landlord.

Landlord Obligations
Landlords are normally obligated to handle the annual maintenance of their property and they are not permitted to evict a tenant without just cause within the tenancy contract time period.

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