The Fun Part: Legal requirements to becoming an Airbnb Host
Updated: Sep 28
Kidding. Unless you’re a property law enthusiast (do those exist?) this is not so fun, but it’s an important part of what we do, so pay attention!
Can anyone operate a Holiday Home / Short Term Rental (STR) in Dubai? What are the legal requirements?
If you want to rent out your home short term, Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) issues an annual ‘Unit Permit’ and collects Tourism Dirham (Tourism Tax) based on the number of nights your property is occupied.
Before listing your property on popular online portals, you must register with DTCM and set-up your account. These can be found here.
I am an owner with multiple properties, do I need to register each one for STR?
Unfortunately, an owner may only legally operate one property. If you own more than one property and do not wish to use a host management company like Shosty, you must obtain a business license from the Department of Economic Development, which is approved by DTCM.
Can a Tenant (i.e. renter) offer their property for STR?
A Tenant is permitted to operate their rental as a STR (“Authorised Tenant), provided they receive a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Owner/Landlord. The Tenant must then register the property with DTCM (Unit Permit) and pay the Tourism Dirham as outlined above. Like Landlords, Tenants are only permitted to operate one property. If they wish to operate more than one, then a Business License is required.
What are the DTCM requirements?
If you choose not to use an agency, the DTCM Unit Permit is Dh1,570 per year. Additionally, you need to be sure you have all the necessary insurance policies covering the risk of leasing your home to guests. This covers everything from guest injury to property and building damage. Once these requirements are met, and you've registered with DTCM, you can list your property on popular booking sites.
Do I need insurance to operate a short-term holiday rental?
Look, we understand the likelihood of an accident is slim, but this measure is in place for a specific purpose. Accidents do happen, and everyone would rather you be safe than sorry. DTCM requires owners to have a comprehensive insurance policy in place. It is to protect you and anyone staying at your property.
Helpful licensing and permit definitions from the DTCM.
The Emirate of Dubai.
The Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing
Decree No. (41) of 2013 Regulating the Activity of Leasing out Holiday Homes in the Emirate of Dubai.
Furnished real property units designated for conducting the Activity by the conditions and criteria stipulated in this Resolution.
Engaging, on a regular and ongoing basis, in leasing out Holiday Homes or taking leases of Holiday Homes to sublet them to Guests.
A corporation or company licensed to conduct the activity in the Emirate.
An individual or Establishment licensed to conduct the activity in the Emirate.
The initial approval issued by the DTCM to an applicant for a Licence to enable him to apply for a Licence, by the requirements prescribed by this Resolution.
A document issued by the DTCM stating that the DTCM authorises a Licensee to conduct the Activity in the Emirate after verifying that all conditions and requirements stipulated in this Resolution are met by the Licensee.
A document issued by the DTCM stating that the DTCM approves that a furnished real property unit is designated as a Holiday Home, after verifying that all conditions, requirements, and criteria stipulated in this resolution are met.
A natural person who stays in a Holiday Home, in return for a payment, to use it as overnight accommodation.
Holiday Home Lease Contract
An agreement concluded between an Establishment and a Guest, stipulating the rights and obligations of its parties, by the provisions of the Decree and this Resolution.
The electronic platform maintained by the DTCM, or by any other entity approved by the DTCM, through which applications for Licences, Permits, and any other services stated in this Resolution, will be received.
A document that contains the technical rules and standards for issuing Initial Approvals, Licences, Permits, and classification certificates Holiday Homes.
Do I meet the requirements to be issued a permit by DTCM?
According to article 8 of this document from Dubai Tourism, a permit will be issued if you meet the following requirements.
It is a real property located where DTCM authorizes activity.
The real property falls under one of these specific categories:
An apartment in a building designated for conducting the activity.
An apartment in a residential building.
A house or villa located in a real property compound, or
An independent villa.
Your property must satisfy the technical specifications and requirements. It also must come equipped with the fittings prescribed by the Guide for the relevant holiday home classification category.
The owner or tenant must submit a copy of their valid passport or Emirates Identity Card.
The owner must show proof that they have the right to dispose of the real property unit by the provisions of this Resolution. Additionally, the sale and purchase agreement must not include any clause stating that the home may not be used as a Holiday Home.
All other technical requirements stipulated by the guide must be adhered to.
Passports for each guest must be submitted to building security and DTCM’s online portal at the time of check-in.
Guests must be checked out at the time of their departure.
This seems like a lot of work...
That’s why we exist - companies that manage airbnb rentals, or simply short term rentals in general.
Let us do the work for you, and get the best Return on Investment! Get in touch with us. As the experts in airbnb property management Dubai, we can’t wait to work for you!