We tapped the experts for your need to know info…

If you’re leaving Dubai this summer, you might want to consider letting out your apartment as a vacation rental. Increasingly popular for those heading out of the country for long (or short) periods of time, it’s an option not just for homeowners, but tenants as well.

If you’re thinking about renting out your home in Dubai, we asked Anna Skigin, CEO of Frank Porter, for the steps to take and things to consider.

Can you rent out your home when you travel if you’re the owner?

Yes, you can rent out your home as an owner. First, you need to register it on the Holiday Home Portal on the official website of the Department of Economy and Tourism (DET). The DET is the principal authority for short term rentals across the city and is is responsible for the provision of all event, holiday home and tour guide permits, as well as hotel classification.

You will be asked to submit a range of documents including your Title Deed, Emirates ID and a recent DEWA bill. You can check the requirements and the steps here. You will need to have a contact person in Dubai during each booking, register your guests’ passports with Dubai Tourism and pay monthly fees. Permits are issued on an annual basis and need to be renewed each year.

Can you rent out your home when you travel if you’re the tenant?

Yes, tenants can rent out their home provided they follow all procedure and register a No Objection Certificate with applicable documentation from the homeowner. Basically, the owner has to agree to the subletting of the property and state this in writing.

What is the process for renting out your home?

To start leasing your property, you need a holiday home permit from DET, which you can apply for yourself by following the instructions on the website, or you can contact a company such as Frank Porter who can help sort out all the legalities.

The certification ensures that your property meets the technical specifications and legal requirements for a short-term rental.

To start this process, the host looking to lease (this being the holiday home operator, homeowner or tenant) needs to submit an application to the DET for processing and approval.

Firstly, you should register for an account on the portal. Next, add your unit (property) and provide the required information — such as the unit type, number of bedrooms, and area.

Then, supply copies of the required documents. These include:

  • The title deed or sales purchase agreement and payment completion certificate
  • The landlord’s signed passport or Emirates ID
  • The property management letter
  • A recent Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) bill
  • If unit landlord is a company: The trade license and an Emirates ID or passport of the authorized signatory
  • If host is a tenant: The tenancy contract

The DET will then review your application, typically within one business day. If approved, you will receive email confirmation and the unit will be added to your portal dashboard.

From here, you need to self-classify your property by the kind of facilities it offers, in accordance with the Holiday Home Regulation Guide.

You then need to pay the relevant charges — the DET imposes a one-time application fee which starts from Dhs1,500 and is tiered depending on the property size, in addition to an Dhs10 knowledge fee and Dhs10 innovation fee.

You also need to know about the Tourism Dirham which is a fee charged to short-term rental guests by the government of Dubai. It is calculated based on the number of bedrooms occupied in your property each night, collected for up to 30 nights of consecutive stay. This should be listed as a separate fee in guest cost breakdowns and submitted monthly to the DET.

What things should you consider before doing so?

I would definitely consider taking the advice of an expert. Our team at Frank Porter can guide you through each step from licensing to furnishing and then taking bookings and managing them, and give you the most up to date information on what you need to do.

There are certain DET rules to follow such as there must be a safety deposit box and a fire extinguisher plus other essentials fittings, and all utilities such as water, gas and internet must be connected. The property must be fully equipped for a guest stay, and be clean and fully furnished.

Which are the most in-demand areas for short-term rentals right now?

Areas such as Dubai Marina, JBR, Downtown and Palm Jumeriah remain the top destinations amongst our guests and provide the highest rate per night. But it is in areas such as Jumeirah Lakes Towers and Jumeirah Village Circle that owners can make the highest returns on investment because the property values are lower.

There is a lot of development happening in Barsha South, Meydan and Dubai, and these will be interesting areas to watch for the future.

Image: Andreas M/ Unsplash