Dubai Investment FAQs

All your questions answered.

Is there a VAT on residential rent in Dubai?

Rent on residential properties is exempt from VAT. It falls under the commercial category if it is leased out on a short-term basis to non-residents. If the occupant has no Emirates ID and is leasing less than six months, then it would be deemed commercial from a VAT perspective.

Do I have to pay tax on Dubai property if I am resident abroad?

No, you don’t have to pay tax if you are a resident abroad. You only pay if the Dubai property is designed for living in, such as your own home, and student and employee accommodation. Then it is considered residential and exempt for VAT purposes. However, 5% VAT applies to commercial properties.

Do you get a residency visa if you buy a home?

Anyone who purchases a property that has been completed and handed over to its owner by the developer, and is worth a minimum value of over a property’s value is AED 1 million is given a two-year visa.

With the new long-term visa, investors in a property value of AED 5 million or more, 5-year visa is granted. The renewable 10 year-long visa is for investors setting up start-ups, businesses or branches of their companies of valued AED 10 million or more as long as non-real estate investments are not less than 60% of the total investment. It also applies to spouses and children, with conditions. The UAE announced a new law that provides a 5-year residence visas for retired expatriates with the possibility of renewal for those who wish to stay longer.

Expatriates over 55 years of age are eligible if they have an investment in a property worth AED 2 million, have a minimum of AED 1M in savings, and an active income of at least AED 20,000 per month.

What is freehold property?

The owner of a freehold title of real estate enjoys the most superior form of private property ownership. A freeholder is considered to be the absolute owner of the land and buildings comprised in his title; he has the right to occupy, use and enjoy his property forever (“in perpetuity”) or until he transfers the title to a new owner, and his heirs are entitled to inherit his title upon his death.

What is the purchase process?

Typically, the prospective Buyer and Seller enter into an MOU, wherein the buyer commits to purchase the property and the seller commits to sell the property. In a purchase transaction, the buyer pays an initial booking deposit (of not more than AED 100,000 for villas and apartments) to the seller. If the buyer withdraws from the transaction, the buyer forfeits his booking deposit. If the seller withdraws from the transaction, the seller refunds the booking deposit amount. The buyer pays the balance considered to the seller upon transfer of the property to the buyer.

Selling your property?

A) If the seller wants to sell his property what are the charges normally charged by sales agents? Between 1% and 3% of the property value.

B) What is the transfer fee if between family members? Same amount as above.

C) Do the property purchaser and seller need to be in Dubai at the same time to transfer a property? No, as long as the power of attorneys are properly notarized and appointed.

D) After a sale, how long is the residence visa is valid for? Normally between 30 to a max of 45 days after the property is sold to the new property purchaser, after which it is cancelled

What is DLD?

Dubai Land Department – DLD is a government agency that provides necessary legislation, organisation, and services for any real estate transactions in Dubai.

What is RERA Dubai?

Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA) is the regulatory arm of DLD that regulates the real estate sector in Dubai. It handles the relationship between all contracting parties and organizes the properties’ exchange process.

What is DEWA Dubai?

DEWA is short for Dubai Electricity and Water Authority that handles water and electricity supply in Dubai. It provides citizens and residents with a continuous and reliable electricity and water supply.

What is a transfer fee?

A transfer fee is payable if you transfer your property to someone else. It is an administrative charge levied by the primary developer.

Is there a penalty payable to the property purchaser if an off-plan project is not completed on time?

Typically, developers delay the staggered payment schedule if a property is not completed on time.

What is driving real estate demand in Dubai?

A) Liberalisation of the real estate sector – expats can now own property

B) High tax-free yields on freehold property rental

C) Globalisation and its effects on property prices in metropolitan cities worldwide

D) Favourable interest rate environment

E) Mortgages & homeowner finance available

F) Granting of “permanent” residency upon purchase of freehold properties

G) Great Value – Real estate land & apartment valuations are cheap compared to international prices

H) Conducive lifestyle: safe, tax haven, secondary and tertiary home for international buyers

I) Dubai’s robust economic growth p.a. (GDP)

J) Dubai’s robust population growth p.a. K) Large mid-income population bracket with high disposable income

L) Dubai is the regional entrepôt & tourism center

M) UAE is an open, welcoming & tolerant state with investor-friendly business policies

What are the maintenance and parking charges?

Service charges, AC and sinking fund is charged per sq. ft. with rates starting from AED 2 per sq. ft. As for parking, it is paid yearly per bay/slot and starts from around AED 1,000.

What is the average size of different units?

Most studios and one-bedroom units are the same size. Some units have balconies and some do not. Sometimes the ones located on the corners of the building are slightly bigger. Retail shops on the ground floor vary in size and are priced accordingly.

Studios – Size approximately 480 sq.ft.

One Bedroom – Size approximately 716 sq.ft.

Retail – Size varies, upwards and downwards of approximately 500 sq.ft.

Can a Tenant terminate his contract during the Tenancy Period?

Yes, a Tenant can terminate the contract, provided the Tenant will notify the Landlord ninety (90) days in advance and ensuring all the utility bills should are settled.

What are the payments the tenant need to make once agreed in leasing a Property?

The Tenant has to pay the agreed Annual Rent depending on how many cheques both parties agreed with, the Security Deposit, the Commission of the broker, deposit for DEWA and Empower(if applicable) and Ejari Registration.

Does the Tenant needs to register his Tenancy Contract with Ejari?

Yes, the Law clearly states that the Rental Committee shall not consider any claims unless the lease is registered with Ejari.

Can I get a pre-approved mortgage?

Yes. This is preferable. Most lenders will work out how much they are likely to lend to you before you have a specific property in mind. This means you can then go looking for something you know you can afford.

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