Whether you are a startup business looking for a convenient and economical office space solution or an established operation looking to expand. Selecting the right Dubai office space for your organizations requirements is a critical element in the functioning of your operation and your overall business success. In order to make the right choice causing as little disruption to your business as possible, careful consideration of all aspects of the property, the commercial terms of the deal, the rules and regulations of the area/ community you decide to operate within is required. Before commencing your search the following points should be considered:
Am I eligible to lease a commercial property in Dubai?
Provided you have a valid trade license issued by either the Dubai Economic Department (DED) or a Dubai Government Free-zone you are eligible to lease commercial property in Dubai. Depending on which license you hold and the authorized activity, you will be allowed to operate from either an ‘onshore’ or free-zone area.
What documents do I need to lease a commercial property in Dubai?
Trade License or for ‘start ups’ a provisional approval from a Dubai licensing authority
Passport of the Company Manager (named on the Trade License)
Signing Authority letter (Only if signatory is not named on the Trade License)
Passport copy of the authorized signatory (Only if signatory is not named on the Trade License)
What is the difference between operating onshore or within free-zone?
The principle difference is when operating onshore in Dubai you are regulated by the Dubai Economic department (DED) and currently required to have a local partner that owns 51% of the company. You will also be subject to a 5% import duty on any imported goods for sale.
While operating within a freezone you retain 100% ownership with the freezone authority essentially becoming your local partner. There are however theoretical restrictions on operating onshore outside of the freezone which are not generally enforced but need to be taken into consideration.
Subject to your business activity and plan you will be need to select a freezone that best suits your industry i.e Dubai Media City (DMC), or Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC). Our consultants will be able to introduce you to the relevant authority.
Does the property come ‘fitted’ or as ‘shell & core’?
Generally Dubai ‘s commercial office and retail spaces come standard as ‘shell & core’ which means, only the unit shell without any fixtures, fittings or finishes. In most cases the pantry/ kitchenette and toilet amenities are provided within the common areas of the building. As the commercial market matures and Landlords become more competitive and/ or businesses trade up for larger spaces ‘fitted’ spaces are increasingly available.
How long are commercial lease contracts in Dubai?
The duration of a lease contract in Dubai tend to typically be for a period of 12 months with an automatic renewal for a second year. However subject to negotiations contracts can go up to ten years.
What are the rent payment terms?
To lease a property in Dubai, Landlords accept payments in the form of cheque(s) either from a personal or company UAE bank account. Payment terms are negotiable subject to the length of the lease contract and the annual rental amount but can range from either one cheque per annum to six cheques per annum, with all cheques for the entire term of the lease contract handed to the Landlord upon signing the lease contract.
In order to secure the property an initial 5% of the value of the tenancy contract is required as a deposit, after the lease contract has been signed this deposit will be retained by the Landlord as a security deposit in case of damage to the property and refunded to the Tenant at the expiry of the lease contract less any damage that may have been caused to the property.
Are there any other fees or charges?
In addition to your trade License & company registration fee’s there are three other fee’s to keep in mind;
Listed below under the title ‘can I alter the interior of the property’ are the names of the various Government agencies you will need to obtain approvals from in order for your fit-out works to be complete.
For a better understanding of the fit-out process and the associated fee’s, please ask one of our Consultants to introduce you to our selection pre-qualified local fit-out companies.
What is the general process for leasing a commercial property in Dubai?
Subject to your trade license or If you are a ‘start up’, once you have obtained your trade license ‘provisional approval’ from the relevant Government authority, our commercial consultants will prepare a shortlist of locations you are permitted to operate within. Then based on your personal preferences, operational and financial requirements a shortlist of suitable properties will be organized for you to view.
Once you have selected an office space and agreed the commercial terms of the tenancy contract, the Landlord will provide a draft lease agreement for review. Our Consultant will assist you in explaining and negotiating changes to the terms in order to safe guard your interests, Once agreed a 5% deposit and Agency fee will be due in order to remove the property from the market and commence preparations for the signing of the lease contract.
At the time of signing the tenancy contract the 5% deposit will be retained by the Landlord as the security deposit and all current and post-dated cheques for the entire term of the lease contract will be handed over to the Landlord.
Can I sub-let the commercial property?
Yes, providing you have written approval from your Landlord.
How do I connect electricity, water, Cooling and other services?
In order to connect to DEWA and other services for a commercial property you must have a valid trade license. For further information on connections and transfers, please visit;
DEWA: www.dewa.gov.ae or call +971 4 324 4444.
DU: http://www.du.ae or call +971 4 3699 188 (from overseas) or 800 188 (from any UAE phone).
Etislat: http://www.etisalat.ae or call 800 101
Palm District Cooling: http://www.palmdistrictcooling.com/ or call 800 PALMU (72568)
Empower: http://www.empower.ae or call +971 4 375 5555
Tabreed: http://www.tabreed.com/ or call +971 2 645 5007
Can I alter the interior of the property?
Yes, subject to appointing a licensed fit-out contractor, preparing detailed architectural drawings, obtaining approvals/ Non Objection Certificates (NOC) from;
The building’s manager
Dubai Municipality or if within a freezone, the relevant Governing body
Dubai Civil Defense
Emirates Health & Safety,
What is the usual timeframe for an interior fit out?
Based on a shell & core office of 1,000 sqft to 4,000 sqft, the entire process undertaken by a competent fit-out contractor should take between six to eight weeks to complete.