This is a repost of the article of the same name on www.expatechodubai.com
For expatriates relocating to Dubai and living in freehold (owned) and non-freehold (rented) housing you will need to set-up an electric and water utility connection with DEWA (Dubai Electricity and Water Authority). An important factor to understand in the DEWA billing process is the associated housing fee that is incurred. Housing fees for expat tenants is calculated on 5% of the unit’s annual rent, while expat owners must pay 0.5% of the value of the property as determined by RERA’s (Real Estate Regulatory Agency) rental index. These amounts are divided by 12 months and each month invoiced in instalments.
DEWA is requiring expats both living in freehold and non-freehold properties to register their accommodation details on the municipality’s portal in order to assist them to calculate the associated housing fee and to enable the invoicing of DEWA’s monthly utility bills. Read here How to set up Dewa.
It is important for expats to clearly understand this process as you could risk paying a higher housing fee according to the RERA index, which may not be equal to the actual rent being paid. In addition, if you have negotiated a lower annual rental amount on a lease renewal it would be beneficial to take your documentation including most recent DEWA bill, copy of tenant’s passport and the new tenancy contract to the DEWA office to negotiate housing fee adjustments.
A listing of DEWA locations, phone numbers and office hours can be found on the DEWA website.