Renting A Property In Abu Dhabi
Expats moving to Abu Dhabi may have a housing allowance stipulated in their contract, depending on their job. Their employer will either allow an expat to choose their own accommodation or allocate them a home, prior to relocating.
Before picking an area to live in, expats should decide what their priorities are and what they’re willing to sacrifice. Each area has its own unique set of pros and cons; it’s recommended that newcomers speak to other expats about their experiences, and also consider:
- Commute times to work and to local schools for those with school-aged children
- Congestion and noise level in the area
- Proximity to shops and restaurants
- Which areas are popular with expat communities
Expats wanting to rent a property in Abu Dhabi will find that lease rates are on the decline, and newer areas of Abu Dhabi may even experience a brief oversupply that will further increase affordability. But rental prices are still expensive, especially in the highly sought-after on-island locations. The most popular areas are Bateen and Karama for houses, and Al Khalidiya and Corniche for apartments.
Furnished/unfurnished accommodation in Abu Dhabi
Expats can find both furnished and unfurnished accommodation in Abu Dhabi, the former being more expensive. In the case of unfurnished apartments, even appliances will be absent, which could mean a large start-up cost for expats, especially as appliances from countries with different voltage requirements won’t work.
Expats planning to rent an unfurnished apartment should approach their employer about a shipping allowance or a stipend to furnish the flat. Those with a housing allowance should make sure there is a separate allowance to cover the costs of purchasing standard household items.
Types of accommodation
Villa are perfect for expats with families or those with sufficient resources. These come in various shapes and sizes: free-standing villas, semi-detached villas in which properties share an adjoining wall, and townhouse-style villas in which two adjoining walls are shared. Regardless of the type, the properties tend to be large and are most frequently available off-island, in Khalifa City A.
Rent is paid annually and in advance, but some landlords will accept post-dated cheques, so the amount is deducted each month rather than in one lump sum. Expats who choose the latter option should ensure there’s always enough money in their account to cover the monthly deductions as bouncing a cheque is a crime in Abu Dhabi. Expats can also explore the option of getting a salary advance from their employer to remain debt-free.
There are no council taxes or permit fees associated with accommodation in Abu Dhabi. However, unless an expat is living in a company apartment or house, they’ll have to pay for utilities like water and electricity in addition to rent. Luckily, these costs are subsidised by the government, so they tend to be affordable. But those living in large villas may find themselves financing a hefty power bill due to constant air conditioning.