Many tenants are breathing a sigh of relief after the Dubai’s Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) recently updated its rent calculator. Analysis of the latest index reveals that rents on average for a one-bedroom apartment in the Emirate have fallen between two percent and 14 percent.

Market rates

When compared to last year, rent prices in areas such as International City, Palm Jumeirah, Discovery Gardens, Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Village and Jumeirah Beach Residence are now lower.

However, the opposite trend has been seen across other areas, including Business Bay and Downtown which marked increases of 2.7 per cent and 2.4 per cent, respectively. A one-bedroom apartment in Business Bay will now cost anywhere from AED 80,000 to AED 105,000, while the same type of property in downtown will be listed at around AED 95,000 to AED 115,000, up 2.4 per cent from last year.

Meanwhile, values in Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT) have remained flat for the most part.

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A tool for tenants

Although landlords typically have more say in such matters, the index has proven to be a useful online tool as it gives tenants a general idea of how their rent compares to market rates. It also gives them some bargaining power before signing contracts and can also be used in case of any disputes. There have also been cases where tenants have been successful in negotiating a decrease in rents with their landlords, by using the calculator in as a point of reference in any complaints filed to the Dubai Land Department’s Rental Committee.

[Related: Know your rental rights as a Dubai tenant]

In addition to the index, the rent committee also looks at the relevant property’s status, the general economic conditions in Dubai, any valid legislation regarding rental values and other factors, which are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

However, it’s important to note that the index is now only updated once a year; meaning that it’s likely tenants will pay the same market rate, regardless of the actual fluctuation in property prices within the market. In addition, it doesn’t take into account key details about properties besides the local or community, such as amenities, quality of finishing, views, building maintenance, etc.

[Related: Looking for a new apartment? Four things to consider]

General tips and advice

Before signing any lease, be sure to discuss all options with the property’s owner. For example, many landlords are starting to accept rent cheques three or four times a year, while others who prefer one or two cheques tend to throw in some type of discount. The tenancy contract should be registered through the Dubai Land Department’s Ejari system, so that the information can be tracked and monitored in case of any disputes.

[Related:10 things your UAE landlord won’t tell you]

Also, be aware that landlords can only increase a tenant’s rent if they give 90 days’ notice. Eviction notices can only be issued if the owner plans to sell the property or live in it, and this must be done 12 months in advance.