To move or not to move: With bargains to be had for Dubai renters, how do you know? We help calculate your answer.

To Move or Not to Move?

To move or not to move, that is the question. And it’s one that may occupy the minds of budget-conscious Dubai renters, tracking the headlines about persistent property price declines.

While rent may be cheaper somewhere else, the upfront costs of moving can outweigh a renter’s savings over the term of their lease. We rounded up the expenses to take into accouont before going for that ‘cheaper’ place.

Moving Costs

Most people underestimate the cost of moving their belongings and furniture. Packing companies and movers’ prices can vary widely, but some informal market research showed that most cost AED 1,000 to 2,500 on average, and the cost can go up or down depending on add-ons like packing and unpacking your belongings.


Ejari is a legal contract registration platform by Dubai Land Department helping to authenticate rental contracts and agreements between tenants and landlords. The standard fee is AED 195, valid for all types of properties.

Also, Dubai Municipality charges a 5% fee on annual rent, paid in 12 parts and added to DEWA bills.

New furniture

If you live in a furnished or semi-furnished apartment, moving to an unfurnished property means shopping for furniture. A 2018 report by Service Market put the cost of furnishing a studio to 2-bedroom place at AED 20-25,000.

Security Deposit

If you’re lucky, and careful about restoring your previous property to its original condition, you will get your security deposit back and it can cover the cost of the new one.

But take note, even if your full deposit is returned, costs for a deep clean, patching up holes in the wall, and professional painting can all add up, reducing your ultimate savings. If your landlord still deducts additional maintenance costs from your deposit you will have to find the funds to pay another (or at least a top-up) security deposit to your next place, usually the equivalent of about one month’s rent, out of your own pocket.


Although the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) in Dubai has not set a standard percentage for commission that can be charged by agents, the market practice is around 4-5% on the total lease amount for the year.


Moving to a new apartment means connecting new DEWA and landline services, which also entails paying security deposits to both companies. Note, however, that you will get your deposit back on your current place or you could try to move your service altogether, with DEWA’s ‘Move To’ service, avoiding any extra exchange of money.

Beware, too, that Du and Etisalat typically require a two-year minimum commitment. Breaking up with your wifi and cable provider before your contract is up could cost you around AED 600 in termination fees.

The DEWA deposit is as follows:

  • Apartment

AED 2000 (deposit, refunded upon leaving)

AED 110 (connection, non-refundable)

  • Villa

AED 4000 (deposit, refunded upon leaving)

AED 110 (connection, non-refundable)

Wrapping Up

While it is impossible to calculate the exact cost of moving to a new apartment, as every household is different, it is easy to underestimate the true cost of moving.

So open up your calculator app and punch in your expenses for the above. 

Subtract your total from what you’re expecting to save on annual rent in a new apartment. If you’re in the green, then go for it! Remember to also factor in non-financials like less of a commute, more amenities like a pool or balcony, etc. You may end up paying slightly more, but your quality of life will also be greater — and you can’t put a price on that!

Need more options before making a decision?

Browse more properties for rent or visit our Find Agent section.

This Blog is made available for educational purposes only, in addition to providing you with general information and a general understanding of its content, including referenced laws and regulations, and not to provide specific legal advice. The Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent advice from a licensed professional.