Are you searching for a property in Dubai? Learn about some important annual fees you should consider before you buy, homeownership service charges.

What are service charges?

Service charges are recurring annual fees paid by the owner of the property for the maintenance and upkeep of common areas in Dubai’s residential buildings or communities. These charges typically cover different property services and management aspects such as amenities, maintenance, cleaning, security, landscaping, and general upkeep of the area or building.

The cost of service charges varies depending on a number of factors, namely:
  • Building or community location – The area that the property is located in
  • Project type – The building or community in the area
  • Property use – This includes residential (apartments and villas), retail, commercial offices, serviced apartments (in hotels or managed buildings), etc. 
Service charges in Dubai apply to all types of properties in the city and are charged per square foot of the unit area. The charges can range anywhere between 3 and 30 AED (from 0.8 to 8 USD) per square foot, sometimes more.

What's included in the charges?

Service charges include a number of main categories that cover specific types of expenses connected to the property and building or community upkeep and continued operation. These main categories include: services, maintenance, improvement, utility services, management services, insurance, unit A/C for apartments, and master community for villas and townhouses.

Services include amenities provided by the building or community where the property is located. The most common amenities are:
Concierge / reception Wi-FI Shared gym
Balcony Elevator Shared pool
Parking Restaurant Shared spa
Room service Green spaces Retail & entertainment

A shared pool with sunbathing chairs and umbrellas, located in an apartment community.

Maintenance charges cover housekeeping, repairs, and security of the property and common areas. This includes cleaning, waste disposal, electrical and plumbing work, security staff, etc.

Improvement charges include expenses for any construction work needed for repairs, reconstruction, renovation, and general upkeep of the property and common areas. 

Utility services cover water, electricity, and sewerage for common areas as well as the housing tax.

Management services cover fees of the management company or staff who take over the management responsibilities for the property. This is a very useful service for out-of-country investors, but also those homeowners who don’t want to manage the property rental operations themselves. The service includes collecting and processing rent, responding to maintenance requests, coordinating repairs, conducting inspections, and communicating with tenants.

Insurance fee covers any damages incurred from accidents, natural disasters, theft, or vandalism. It also covers lost rent, lock replacement, injury to property residents, and tenant liability.

Unit A/C fee covers the cost of climate control for the property (apartment or villa). This can be handled by a central AC system in case of an apartment building, or by a cooling plant facility for a villa or townhouse. In a building setting, individual unit use cannot be determined so the total cost is shared among all units based on the square footage.

Master community fee covers the community’s infrastructure maintenance which includes roads, green spaces, underground services, storm drains, sewage lines, and pavements.

How are the charges collected?

Since 2019, homeowners have been responsible for invoicing and collecting the service charges, which was previously the responsibility of the property developers. Today, the Homeowners Association is also permitted to delegate this task to one of the management agencies appointed by the Dubai Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA). DLD’s (Dubai Land Department) electronic system, Mollak, provides homeowners with transparent records that indicate where the collected funds are allocated.

The service charges are collected in DLD-approved banks, and a breakdown of the charges is shared with the owners allowing them to see how the different fees impact the maintenance and upkeep of the building.

Service charge index

The service charges are based on the RERA Service Charge Index for properties in Dubai Freehold zones.

The service charge index is divided into four main categories by property type: apartments, villas, offices, and shops. The maintenance fee applies to all property types. The maintenance fee is calculated differently between apartments and townhouses.

To sum up

These are some of the examples of service charges for Dubai homeowners based on the RERA service charge index. If you have a specific property you’re interested in and it’s not included in the list, check out the index page. If you know the name of the property or the area it’s located in, you should be able to find it (properties in their early stages of construction are not included). Once you know what to expect regarding the service and maintenance costs when you buy a property, you may want to find your future home or investment in Dubai. Check out our portfolio of over 5000 properties when you are ready.

If you already have a property in mind, you might be considering how to finance your purchase. Try our
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