The house hunt continues for another week and I've come to the conclusion that the rental market in Dubai is completely out of control. Rents here have skyrocketed in the past 12 months and affordable housing is now a thing of the past unless you want to move out to International City next to the sewerage ponds.
There is a major difference between renting a property in Dubai and renting anywhere else. In Dubai you will be asked to pay the entire year's rent in advance in one cheque + 5% commission for the agent + 5% bond. If you're lucky you may get a landlord who'll accept 2 cheques but there are now very few landlords who do. While many companies here have housing loan arrangements for their management/professional staff who then make repayments from their salary, for most people in Dubai rent has become their major salary expense. We saw a lovely house on Wednesday night at Al Warqa which was really good value (by Dubai standards) at AED205,000 = $59,842pa or $1,150.80 per week. We told the agent on the spot that we'd take it, she rang the landlord who agreed and the agent said she would draw up the contract. The next day the agent rang to say that someone else had just turned up with 205,000 in cash and the landlord has rented the place to them instead. I know a couple in Dubai who are paying AED140,000 ($786 per week)for a one bedder and that's a good price, while a two bedder can be as much as AED190,000 ($1,066 per week) and 3 bedroom houses start at AED200,000 with the average house rental around AED340,000($1,900 per week) plus. As a comparison a brand new 4 bed, 4 bathroom house in Campbells Bay, Auckland with 2 lounges and a deck with seaviews rents for NZD900 per week or AED 134,000pa. While a 4 bedroom house with a full tennis court and a pool in Gladesville, Sydney rents for AUD 1,200pw or AED213,000pa.
Sharing a flat/house as we would do in Aus or NZ can be done here, though its illegal unless you are a 'family'. There has been a noticeable hardening of the Authority's attitude to single Westerners sharing places whether a couple, mixed house or girls/boys only. Unmarried couples living together are well advised to stay 'under the radar' as people (and its usually the woman) have been deported from the UAE if a complaint is made, and don't even think about having a baby here if you are unmarried! A recent interesting situation arose for a couple from the UK who've never married but have a couple of children. The man has been offered a job here which he can't accept unless they are a married couple. They've gone to the Registry office and got married but now a problem has arisen because, of course the dates on the childrens' birth certificates show that the kids were born before the parents married. Haven't heard how it turned out.