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Commercial Tenant's Guide

Whether you are a new venture looking for an economical solution or an established operation looking for an impressive premises. Selecting the right 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 careful consideration of all aspects of a property is required. Before commencing your search the following points should be considered….


Am I eligible to lease commercial property?

Provided you have a valid trade license issued by either 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 a freehold or free-zone area.


What Documents do I enquire?

By a company:
  • Trade License • Passport of the Company Owner(s) • Signing Authority letter • Passport copy of the authorized signatory

Residence Visa

In general, the Dubai Government issues residence visas to new property owners. These will be subject to the current immigration rules and regulations and need to be renewed every three years.


Difference between Freehold and Leasehold?

Free Hold- Property ownership free of any leasing agreement or contract. The owner and user is the same person, and the right to use and ownership lies with one person only i.e. the owner. The property ownership is subject to the laws and regulations of the country the property is located within.

Free Zone -- An area within a country (a seaport, airport, warehouse or any designated area) regarded as being outside the country's customs territory where importers may bring goods of foreign origin without paying customs duties and taxes, pending their eventual processing, trans-shipment or re-exportation.


Is the Property "fitted" or "shell & core"?

Currently, Dubai 's commercial office and retail spaces come standard as 'shell & core' which means, only the unit shell without any fixtures, fittings of finishes. In most cases the pantry/ kitchenette and toilet amenities are provided within the common areas of the building. In some cases a Landlord or previous tenant may have completed the fit out of the unit with suspended ceiling, raised flooring, storage facilities and glass/ gypsum wall partitions.


How long are commercial lease contracts?

Tenancy Contracts can be for as short as one year with an automatic renewal for a second year, or up to a maximum of ten years.


What are the payment terms?

To lease a property in Dubai, landlords accept payments in the form of a cheque either from a personal or company UAE bank account. Payment terms are negotiable, but can range from either one cheque to twelve cheques of the amount of the first years annual rent, with all cheques exchanged upon signing the tenancy contract. In order to secure the property an initial 5% of the value of the tenancy contract is required as a security deposit, after the tenancy contract has been signed this deposit will be held by the landlord as a security deposit in case of damage to the property.


Any fees involved?

Depending on negotiations between landlord and tenant, the annual property maintenance/ service charges and district/ central cooling charges can either be included within the rent or charged separately. Smith & Ken Commercial charges an Agency fee of 5% of the value of the first years rent.


How do I lease a Property?

Once you have your license documents in hand, one of our commercial consultants will prepare a shortlist of locations permitted under your trade license. 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 your ideal property and agreed the terms of the tenancy contract, the 5% deposit and 5% commission cheques will be due in order to remove the property from the market and commence preparations of the tenancy contract/ lease agreement. Following the signing of the tenancy contract/ lease agreement by the landlord and tenant, the 5% deposit will be handed over to the landlord along with the first year's annual rent.


Can I sub-let the Commercial Property?

No, you are not allowed to sub-let the property. This is against the laws of the UAE.


How do I connect electricity and water?

Smith & Ken can do this on your behalf provided a fee of AED 499 is paid in cash to Smith & Ken. For all details of connections and transfers, please visit www.dewa.gov.ae or call +971 324 4444.


Can I alter the interior of the property?

Yes, subject to obtaining Non Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Landlord, the building Developer, the Dubai Municipality, Emirates Health & Safety, Dubai Civil Defense and if your located in a free-zone, the applicable Free-zone authorit


Interior fit out timeframe?

The entire process, which comprises of design-obtaining approvals-construction, should take between six to twelve weeks.

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