Flat and Room Sharing Guide in Dubai, United Arab Emirates


What you need to know before sharing your accomodation

If you are reading this article that means you are either currently living in a shared accomodation or looking to have a roommate to move in with you. Either way we tried our best to give a clear and subjective guide to make your decisions easier, our objective is to make sure you are aware of the local laws applicable to home sharing or room sharing in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi.

For many people who work and live in UAE, it's inevitable to seek shared accomodation such as bed space or private bedroom. Some of the main reasons behind this is the continious increase in cost of living and rental pricing yet there is generally no restriction on minimum wages and not a great increase in salaries. For someone who started in UAE 5 or 7 years ago, their salary would be ok in comparison to the cost of living, however if we compare how much living costs has increased during this time and the average salary increase for the same duration, most residents will have to downsize and look for alternative ways to reduce their house rental costs and the associated expenses.

There has been a lot of questions about room sharing or flat sharing in UAE and yet no body seems to give clear and precise answer to what is allowed and what's not. This article is an effort to clarify many subjects raised by people who are looking for roommate or flatmate and are worried about the regulations, the best place to start is by reviewing Dubai Land Department regulations regarding this topic, the technical term used for roommate is sub-tenant, keep in mind that this term can also be referred to people who sub-lease the property without being present, so the person can be living in your property while you are away for specific period.

We tried our best to collect as much information as possible in this article to make sure we cover every aspect of Flat and Room sharing, in addition we added as many references as possible to make sure the reader can visit the links and read examples or more clarification about each topic covered, keep in mind that laws and regulations change from time to time and you have to check with the right entity to get clarification regarding your specific situation.

Dubai Land Tenancy Rules for Sub-Tenants

This section is an attempt to clarify the official legislations mentioned about sub-letting or sub-tenants, you can read the actual article itself on their Dubai Land website Tenancy Guide, in this article we will focus primarily on the Sub-Tenant sections mentioned in that guide:

Tenant Natural or legal person who is entitled use of the Real Property or any part thereof by virtue of a Tenancy Contract, or any person to whom the tenancy is legally transferred from the Tenant.

Sub-Tenant Natural or legal person who is entitled use of the Real Property or any part thereof by virtue of a Tenancy Contract entered into with the Tenant

Law No. (33) Eviction Cases - Article (25) explains when the Landlord may seek eviction of the Tenant. i.e if a Tenant sub-lets the property of part of it without obtaining approval in writing then eviction will be applied to both tenant and sub-tenant, in addition the tenant has to compensate the sub-tenant

Law No. (26) Term Lease - Article (8) The term of a sub-lease contract entered into between the Tenant and Sub-tenant will expire upon the expiry of the term of the Lease Contract entered into between the Landloard and Tenant, unless the Landloard expressly agrees to extend the term of the sub-lease contract. This means the Tenant have to renew the agreement with the Landlord regarding having Roommate in the property upon contract expiry.

In addition to the previous sections which mainly are related to Dubai, we recommend that you visit Tenancy rules bachelors need to know before renting to see the clarify rules in Dubai and Sharjah. So in summary it seem Roommate or Flatmate Sub-Letting could mean either you have a roommate who is sharing part of the apartment, or you allow someone to short term lease the property, in both cases you should have a written consent from the Landlord before doing so. We found an example on this at Khaleej Timers, Landloards written consent must for subletting, also you can read about short term lease in Dubai at Whatson Dubai .

General UAE Laws related to Property Rental

In addition to the above laws regarding Sub Letting, it's important to point to some other regulations that must be taken into consideration:

Cohabitation or Living Together in UAE of course we mean un-married people from opposite sex or genders who want to share the same apartment in United Arab Emirates, in summary this is considered illegal, Article 356 of the UAE Penal Code states that anyone convicted of engaging in consensual sex outside of marriage, this obviously doesn't apply only to room sharing, some might argue what if opposite sex people live together without having sex? well not sure if that argument works but by reading about shared accomodation with opposite sex people living you hear a lot of stories where something eventually happens. You can read more What does the Law Say on Mixed Sex Sharing, another good article about living with other people in Dubai can be found on Guide 2 Dubai, some examples can be found on Living Together in UAEIn summary what we've seen that if people from different genders are willig to live with each other, they better get married before moving in, otherwise they risk being found guilty.

Bachelors or Construction Workers have specific reglations, first they are not allowed to share apartments in residential areas as they have specific housing locations, also there is a minimum 40 square feet restriction per person if multiple people are sharing the same room. More information about this can be found on Bachelor Accomodation rules

Family Sharing an Apartment this one is obviously prohibited not only in UAE but in most parts of the world for obvious reasons, an example on this is One home per family campaign by Abu Dhabi Municipality, they are working hard on making sure every residential unit has a maximum of one family, this was an attempt to reduce the number of violations, this is governed by Tawtheeq system, more information about this can be found on One Home Per Family.

Overcrowding an Apartment based on the restrictions that apply on bachelor accomodation, we can conclude that this also applies on anyone who is willing to share his/her property with others, in some cases people are being packed up to 20 people in tiny apartments which can cause serious health issues and disruption for neighbors etc.

Flat Partioning this one has become known recently in UAE, many people would rent a property and later they will divide it into sub-sections by physically adding walls and changing parts of the interiors, thus one big apartment could end up being rented as sub-sections as 4 smaller units, this practice is illegal in UAE regardless of your motives or intentions, you are not only overcrowding but also the facilities of the apartment can be damaged or the change being done could be irreversable.

Mate.ae and how it will make your life easier

If you have been reading until now, that means you've seen that the rules are quite complex and not self-explanatory in some aspects, many people in UAE believe that there are just too many rules, this eventually lead to people thinking it's okay to break some of them since "everyone else is doing it". But that is not the right approach, for example we've seen opportunistic people who took advantage of this situation, they would rent an apartment and start looking for desperate people who are looking for an affordable accomodation in specific location due to work being in that area. This resulted in many problems, usually the person whose primarly job is to rent an appartment and sub-let it to others will become more greedy, which leads to him/her overcrowding rooms, mixing wrong people together, create their own internal rules and in some cases they actually overcharge Tenants, some people would rent a home that costs 85000 AED per year to 14 or 15 people and charge everyone 1500 to 2000 AED per month or more, you see it's lucrative business for those people but it's really affecting the way people live, many will stay quite as they have no alternative way of finding a shared apartment close to their work and end up renting this shared property. Our solution is to make it accessable for everyone to find a roommate or flatmate without breaking the rules, since you can set your own budget, preferred location, for example you want to live in Deira, Dubai or JLT, Dubai and you prefer to live with Western people, in simple steps this can be done by adding your profile on our portal and someone else who is looking for roommate with the same criteria will reach out to you, or if you already have a room then you can post it and let other see if it matches their requirements.

While many people went to classified websites such as paid classified however neither of these websites really address the needs of someone looking for shared apartment, they post an ad with description about what the tenant is looking for i.e "1BR to share in Marina", or "Looking for Indian Roommate" thats it, no details on whose living, what is their nationality, where they come from, let alone having to know anything about their personality, budget, age, sometimes even gender is not mentioned. In addition we see great platforms that are competing for house rental and sale such as Bayut, Propertyfinder or Justproperty where they allow you to have advanced filters for home or property type such as Villa, Apartment, Townhouse, in addition they give you the option to save search for specific filters and be notified when a match is found yet they offer nothing to people who are looking for flat sharing or room sharing.

Mate.ae gives you the opportunity not to only find a shared room or apartment, but to also find a roommate where you can both buddy up and decide to rent a flat together

You can start now by adding Free Room Post or your personal Profile Post this way other roommates or people who already have a room can find you as well and contact you. Keep in mind that we take your privacy seriously, you dont have to share your mobile number publically until you decide to.

If you decide to add your Room or Profile, you can add cool filters and preferences such as your budget details, what nationalities you are willing to live with, answer some personality questions and make sure the other person aware of your behavior and preferences at home.

Start now with Mate.ae to find the perfect Roommate or Room

To start visit Search Flats and Roommates where you can filter for roommates or shared apartments, dont forget to take the personality match test to see how compatible you are with the other possible roomie.