Accommodation in Abu Dhabi

► Buy the Abu Dhabi Expat Guide for Kindle or PDF.


Accommodation in Abu Dhabi is inordinately expensive, and expats will want to try their best to negotiate an adequately inflated salary to cover costs. Formal housing allowances are less common than they were a few years ago, but there is no harm in broaching the subject with one's employer.
Villa-style accommodation in Abu Dhabi
The vast majority of expats rent apartments in the city, though an increasing number of residents are moving off the main island in pursuit of cheaper housing. Life in these communities involve longer commute times and more driving in general.

Expats have only been allowed to buy property in Abu Dhabi since 2005, but this stipulation still does not entitle foreigners to own land. As a result, long-term expat residents, for the most part, are the only ones who go through the complex and expensive process of purchasing.

Renting property in Abu Dhabi

Expats wanting to rent a property in Abu Dhabi will find that lease rates are on the decline, and newer areas of Abu Dhabi may even experience a brief oversupply that will further increase affordability.
Nonetheless, rental prices are still expensive, especially in the on-island locations that are still high in demand. The most popular areas are Bateen and Karama for houses, and Al Khalidiya and Corniche for apartments.

Apartment in Abu DhabiExpats can find both furnished and unfurnished accommodation in Abu Dhabi, the former being more expensive. In the case of unfurnished apartments, even appliances will be absent. It follows that a large start-up cost for expats moving to Abu Dhabi is the purchase of “white goods” (refrigerators, washing machines, ovens, etc.). Appliances from countries with different voltage requirements will not work in Abu Dhabi.

Expats planning to rent an unfurnished apartment should approach their employer about a shipping allowance or a stipend to furnish the flat in question. Those with a housing allowance should make sure there is a separate allowance to initially cover the costs of purchasing standard household items.

Rent is paid annually, in advance; however, some landlords will allow payment in post-dated cheques, so the amount is deducted each month rather than in one lump sum. Expats who opt for the latter option should ensure there is always enough money in their account to cover the cost of the monthly deductions – bouncing a cheque in Abu Dhabi is a crime.

Otherwise, expats should explore the option of getting a salary advance from their employer. It's an ideal way to pay for accommodation in Abu Dhabi and remain debt-free.
A villa is another option for expats with families or those have sufficient resources. These come in various shapes and sizes: free-standing villas, semi-detached villas in which properties share an adjoining wall, and townhouse-style villas in which two adjoining walls are shared. Regardless of the villa type, the properties tend to be large and are most frequently available off-island, in Khalifa City A.


Unless an expat is living in a company apartment or house in Abu Dhabi, they will have to pay for utilities, like water and electricity, in addition to rent. Luckily, these costs are subsidised by the government, so they tend to be affordable.

That said, those living in large villas may find themselves financing a hefty power bill due to an excessive air conditioning expenditure.

There are no council taxes or permit fees associated with accommodation in Abu Dhabi.

Finding property in Abu Dhabi

Expats are advised to use a real estate agent to help them find and secure housing in Abu Dhabi. Even if one manages to discover a great deal on their own, an agent will likely be present upon signing the lease – so it's best to let them do the legwork as well.

Tenants pay a five percent commission to agents, and payment of a five percent security deposit upfront is also standard protocol.

Expats should ask their company for estate agent recommendations, or consult print and online listings.

You may login with either your assigned username or your e-mail address.
The password field is case sensitive.
, after login or registration your account will be connected.
Login with your Facebook account (Recommended)