A 10-point checklist for tenants in the UAE

Land Sterling research shows tenants' reasoning has changed since downturn

With over 50,000 units to be supplied by the end of 2011 in Dubai, finding the ideal apartment can be a tricky task.

Youcef Betraoui, Managing Director at Land Sterling Property Consultants, advises apartment hunters to keep a few points in mind while searching.

“It’s not always about the 'low rent'. We recommend you check for parking availability during off-peak hours, good traffic flow, availability of local amenities close by such as
schools, malls, parks etc,” he says.

Research has showed that tenants’ reasoning has changed since the downturn in the market.

“Tenants are not only driven by rental fluctuations, but when plenty is available, they have the advantage to be 'picky and choosey'.

This option is being applied more frequently," Betraoui points out.

Following are 10 tips from Land Sterling to keep in mind while apartment hunting:

1. Rent

The first thing that tenants must do is to research the market of the desired area prior to arranging viewings.

This can involve searching online or in newspapers, speaking to various property agents, and checking the Rera Rental Index. Rental figures can vary even within the immediate vicinity.

In addition, there are lenient landlords who are flexible with payment terms so we recommend you negotiate well.

2. View

It is important that you choose an apartment with an open view to allow plenty of natural light in.

An apartment at a higher level offers better air quality, less noise and a better view.

3. Parking

During a viewing, always check whether the building has covered parking or on-street parking.

Covered parking offers better security and a dust-free environment.

If the property comes with on-street parking, you should visit it during the evening hours to check availability of spaces.

4. Size

Some apartments come with extra features to look out for, such as built-in wardrobes, large balconies, an extra bathroom and maid’s room or study.

You may find a larger
apartment for the same rent as a smaller apartment. You must do your due diligence before you commit yourself.

5. Quality and layout

Depending on your cultural background, you may prefer a closed kitchen instead of an open one, or a guest bathroom by the living room.

In terms of quality, surveyors recommend that you look out for a well set out kitchen with good quality cabinets and a centralised air conditioning system.

6. Facilities

All modern towers provide gym facilities. However, you should view the gym to see if it is well equipped and maintained.

Other facilities that may interest you include kids play area, swimming pool, multipurpose hall, and barbeque area.

7. Local amenities

It is very important that you browse the area to see availability of supermarkets within walking distance of your building.

Generally, people prefer to live within close proximity to the following: Launderettes, barbershops, restaurants and take-outs.

Families with children should take into consideration the availability of schools, parks and malls within the vicinity.

8. Maintenance

Always pick a building that is well maintained, pest-free and clean. Ask the security man which property maintenance company they use.

For convenience, it is desirable to choose a building with at least two elevators.

9. Neighbours

This is a tricky part while hunting for an apartment. You may prefer to live in “families only” building. So ensure you ask the watchman to clarify this point.

10. Registered agents

Finally, as per Rera regulations, we strictly recommend that you deal with registered agents.

This is to ensure you receive a professional service and you pay the appropriate agency fee, which is about 5 per cent of the total rent.

Happy hunting.

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