Only 10% of Dubai tenants see rents decrease in 2016 survey flies in face of reports that lease rates are falling across the city

The vast majority of Dubai tenants are either paying the same as or more than they were paying on rent last year despite reports that rents are falling in the emirate, according to a new survey.

The poll published by, the Middle East comparison site, showed that just 10.3 percent of tenants in the emirate saw their residential rental rates decrease over the past year.

The survey, which polled more than 300 people living across a range of neighbourhoods in Dubai, also showed that a large number of respondents (42.6 percent) said that their residential rates increased over the past 12 months, while 47.1 percent said rates had stayed the same.

The figures fly in the face of numerous reports claiming that rents in Dubai are falling, and that the environment has swayed in tenants’ favour. A recent report from CBRE said that residential rates in Dubai fell by 1 percent in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the last quarter of 2016, and that the fall could be attributed to “constrained demand”.

“There does appear to be some disconnect between what market reports say about rental rates in Dubai and what people are actually seeing on the ground,” said Jonathan Rawling, CFO of

“Our best explanation for this is that renters in Dubai aren’t aware that the market could now be more favourable to tenants. Several survey respondents said that they ‘hadn’t thought to ask’ their landlords about a reduction in their rental rates, highlighting the fact that many tenants simply accept their lot when it comes to renting.”

The survey results also suggest that Dubai renters assume the real estate market is continuing to heat up. Over 45 percent of respondents said that they expect their rental rates to increase over the next 12 months, while 38.2 percent said they expected their rent to stay the same.

Just 16.2 percent expect a decrease in the next year, the survey found.

Of those surveyed by compareit4me who did manage to secure rental reductions, 71.4 percent said that they saw a discount of 5-10 percent compared to last year’s rates, while the rest saw a reduction of up to 5 percent.

According to the survey, the ability to secure a rental rate cut in Dubai might very well depend on the area in which you live.

In Jumeirah, for example, not a single respondent indicated that their rental rates had decreased over the past 12 months, with 40 percent reporting an increase.

In Bur Dubai, tenants are having an even harder time, according to the survey, with 57.1 percent of people living in that area seeing their rents go up in the last year. It was the same story in Deira, where 50 percent of respondents said their rents had increased over the past year.

The areas where renters were able to secure a rate cut were limited – Al Barsha, The Palm Jumeirah and Jumeirah Lakes Towers were among the top-scoring locations for lower rental rates.

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Posted by: Matt

Agency fees are so high that it is cheaper to accept an increase in rent than having to pay for agency fees, losing your deposit and having to move again. It is also so inconvenient and lengthy to file a dispute with the rental dispute centre (having been there) that tenants are dissuaded to do that.

Posted by: JRH

Whilst it's true that agency fees are high and need to be factored in, you should not be losing your deposit unless there is a specific reason to do so.

Don't forget this is a negotiation and you have the upper hand.

Ideally you want to stay where you are, a quick scan on dubizzle shows similar apartments at much lower prices so you go for the market rate. Your landlord won't admit it but he doesn't want you to leave because he knows the market is struggling and if he's lucky enough to find a quick replacement it will be less than what your paying now.

Clearly there are some who simply don't care and would rather have there place stand empty than accept a lower rent. You can't bargain with these people so don't even try.

The point I'm making is you need to fight - don't just accept it as the price of doing business.

Posted by: JRH

Let's assume for a minute that a sample that only includes 300 people (0.011% of the Dubai population) is in any way representative and should be relied on as accurate.

This tells us a few things. Most importantly (and as the article points out) the majority of renters haven't realised that the market is in their favour and are unable or unwilling to negotiate terms when their tenancy is up for renewal.

Now there is caveat to this - if you're in the mid to high end market segment there an abundance of options and with a little research it should be fairly simple to effect a rent reduction with all but the most stubborn of landlords.

Unfortunately for the affordable segment there still hasn't been enough supply to soak up demand and thus landlords still have the upper hand however that shouldn't stop people from trying to stay flat at a minimum.

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