All Dubai expats to pay housing fees by June

Around 40% of Gulf emirate’s expat residents currently aren’t paying monthly charge

Housing fees are calculated at 5% of the tenant’s annual rent or 5% of the property’s freehold value

Housing fees are calculated at 5% of the tenant’s annual rent or 5% of the property’s freehold value

Dubai Municipality plans to charge all expats housing fees by the end of June 2012 as authorities roll out a city-wide campaign to tighten the net on those not yet being billed.

Authorities said around up to 60 percent of residents in Dubai currently pay the monthly fee, but said it will not backdate payments for those who have, to date, escaped the charge.

“It has to happen soon. Let’s say within the first six months of 2012, by the end of June [the whole of Dubai] should be covered,” Abdullah Hashim Abdulghafoor, fees and revenues officer at Dubai’s housing fee department told Arabian Business.

“Customers who haven’t been billed up until now… they are not going to be backdated. If we do that will mean that there will be big amounts charged to their bill and it’s not their fault so it’s not something we feel is appropriate to do.”

Housing fees, billed through residents’ monthly utility bills, are calculated at five percent of the tenant’s annual rent. Freehold property owners pay five percent of the annual rental value, as calculated by the RERA index. 

Emiratis do not pay the charge, leading some residents to dub the fee an “expat tax”.

Introduced in 2005, the speed at which the scheme has been rolled out has attracted criticism from some expats, who complain they have been unfairly targeted.

“I have been paying a housing fee for as long as I can remember…. [but] many of my friends have never paid a housing fee until recently and some friends are still not paying,” said one Mirdif resident, who asked not to be named.  

“I am 100 percent in favour of a system that applies to everyone. Dubai supposedly has had this housing fee system but has not collected millions of dirhams a year from everyone who should pay. Why is that? What has been the reason?”

The city’s government said in May 2010 it planned to charge all residents by Jan 1, 2011.

Dubai authorities are collecting fees from 17 out of a possible 27 zones across the emirate, Abdulghafoor said, including all new residents in the remaining 10 areas.

Among the areas not yet fully covered include Al Barsha, Discovery Gardens, Palm Jumeirah, Burj Khalifa area and Dubai Marina.

Plans are underway to issue non-paying residents with reminders to fill in online forms to ensure they are correctly billed.

Tenants that fail to complete the application will see their housing fee calculated on estimated rent or property values from the city’s Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA).

“We are going to remind them that they still have to register and if they don’t they will be billed as per the rental index. We’ll probably start sending the notices within a month or two and after that we’ll to start resuming the billing for the remaining cycles,” said Abdulghafoor.

 “By [filling in the form] they guarantee being billed accurately, if they don’t do that then they risk being charged more than their actual rent,” he said.

Residents who believe they are being billed incorrectly can complete the form available at and the amended fee will appear on their monthly utility bill within two months, he added.

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Posted by: Faisal

I agree Mazen, they keep saying they will leave but they always end up on the golden shores of the UAE, if only they mean what they say for once.

Posted by: Salwan

Who pays housing fees, DEWA, A/C, for visas, etc?
If proper maths are applied, it will quickly appear that expats contribution is not only the labor and expertise but also financial.

Posted by: Bob ex Sharjah/Dubai

I also took my business and some of my employees and my money to Singapore. My daughter also closed her small business and moved it to Singapore. Both business' are doing well and the best part is that there is full transparency

Posted by: john

@Faisal, I did leave - so did my business and my money. And I will never return. Trust me, you need expats more than they need you.

Posted by: charles

Mazen is too busy in Saudi Arabia planning on working reduced hours for more money :)

He has a lot to do Faisal, let him get on with that!

Posted by: tony

The Emiratis can keep saying that they want all expats out of the country.....and yet they need our money and presence to run their country.

Posted by: Expat 123

Really Mazen? The fact is that a lot more "men in robes" have been lost when compared to coalition troops. The more they send, the more they lose. What does this have to do with housing fees anyway? You are way off topic and just looking to pick an arguement.

Posted by: Expat123

Mazen, are you serious? Who would come to Dubia to work harder for less money??

The only reason people from developed countries come here is to take advantage of the tax benefits, which in the end, leaves them with more income. Why on earth would they come to work harder and make less?

Those coming from less developed nations are most certainly coming for more money, why else would they be here?! Why would any laborer put up with their quality of life here, away from their family, for LESS money?!

Talk about zero basis, your statement is patently false.

Posted by: Andy

As advanced as the UAE and Dubai is when it comes to spending money and showing off high end stuff I am very surprised that the majority of their building do not have Solar Panels for electricity but then again if they did Dewan would not have a monopoly advantage and collect all this extra cash every year.

Posted by: Mazen


Of course you are right and now you shall be rewarded with numerous expats telling you how if they all up and leave then Dubai will slam to a halt...

What they fail to realize is that for every expat complaining about these fees / taxes there are five people willing to come to the GCC and work harder for less money...

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