Apartment Renovation in Dubai

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08 Feb 2024
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In this article

Expanding a doorway, connecting a bathroom and toilet, or creating a cozy dressing room – most alterations are only possible with special permission from various Dubai municipality authorities. Here's what you need to know before considering any renovations in your apartment and whether tenants can undertake them.

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Is it possible to carry out apartment renovations?

For property owners  

Property owners can undertake renovations, but prior approval from the relevant authorities and the property management company is necessary. The management company has the right to prohibit modifications if they alter the overall appearance of the building, for instance, replacing the entrance door or for other reasons. Additionally, the management company may require the owner to provide a deposit, which will be refunded after the renovation, or set deadlines for the work. This is primarily done to ensure the safety of other residents and to protect the management company's liability to the municipality. Certain types of work, especially renovations, can lead to accidents.

For tenants

If you are renting an apartment in Dubai, any changes to the premises – even minor ones like painting the walls a different color – must be approved by the landlord, and written permission detailing all specifics must be obtained.

The rental agreement typically includes a clause stating that the tenant must return the property in the same condition it was originally in at the end of the lease term. Regarding wall painting, the tenant can repaint them back. However, for renovations, it's more complicated. It's better to discuss all details with the landlord beforehand and obtain written consent for the work. The document must specify all changes planned by the tenant.

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Design of a bedroom with a terrace in the Golf Links residential complex

What renovations need legalization and which don't?

Cosmetic repairs in apartments typically don't require additional permits, such as painting walls, floors, or ceilings. However, it's advisable to inform the property management company of such repair work. This ensures the legality of your actions and prevents any issues, especially if your apartment purchase agreement prohibited renovations.

In general, in the UAE, like in most countries, there are three types of construction updates that require licensing: restructuring, renovations, and those affecting common property.

Renovations may include:

  • relocation or alteration of the boundaries of combined bathrooms, toilets, and bathrooms; 
  • installation of load-bearing walls; 
  • installation of openings in floor slabs;
  • sealing of openings in load-bearing walls and floor slabs; 
  • relocation of the kitchen area;
  • alteration of the shape of window and door openings, balconies, and loggias, without altering the architectural appearance of the apartment building.

In many cases, a license for such work is necessary to protect the apartment owner. Accidental removal of load-bearing walls, for instance, could lead to accidents, as upper structure loads are distributed onto them. It's also necessary to coordinate with the property management company for the replacement of window frames and the entrance door, as they affect the overall appearance of the building.

Renovation checklist  

  1. Coordinate renovations with the relevant authorities.
  2. Contact a company to prepare the renovation project and technical conclusion.
  3. Order a design project.
  4. Find contractors licensed for specific types of work.
  5. Start renovations.
  6. Obtain the property after renovation.

Step-by-step guide to legalizing renovations in Dubai apartments  

Initially, the owner needs to inform the building's property management company about renovation plans, which will likely require an engineering project. Then, contact the developer, who must also provide consent.

Next, contact a specialized company with a permit for construction work in Dubai – an approved construction company. They will create a project considering all sanitary norms and safety measures.

Finally, the owner needs to legalize the renovation with the municipality and the organization responsible for fire safety – Dubai Civil Defence.

It's essential to remember that any unauthorized renovations lead to fines from both the property management company and the municipality. Moreover, it complicates the property selling process because the transaction requires providing the appropriate NOC – a certificate of no objection from the developer.

Documents  

  • NOC certificate proving the developer has no objections. 
  • Real estate purchase agreement. 
  • Passport and Visa.
  • Notarized deed for the property from the Dubai Land Department.

Where and how to apply  

Applications should be submitted to the property management company, a specialized company with an approved construction permit, the developer, as well as to the Dubai Municipality and Dubai Civil Defence. All of this can be done by mail. The organizations will provide you with a list of required documents for obtaining consent.

Several apartment options in Dubai  

IL Primo  

A premium-class complex with 119 apartments spanning 77 floors, located in the prestigious Downtown area of the city. Nearby attractions include the opera house and the world's tallest building, Burj Khalifa.

IL Primo offers apartments ranging from 4-6 bedrooms, featuring terraces and panoramic windows. The upper floors feature duplex penthouses occupying entire levels.

In the interior finishing, designers have utilized marble and natural wood, maintaining a subdued color palette throughout the apartments. They come equipped with kitchen furniture, built-in appliances, and sanitary ware.

The complex's ground floors house cafes for refreshing beverages and boutiques. The club facilities include a fitness center with a spa, cinema, library, and golf simulator. Children can enjoy spending time with friends in the playroom. On the rooftop of the 4-story podium, there is an outdoor swimming pool and loungers overlooking the singing fountains and Dubai Mall. It's a perfect spot to relax after work or soak up the city panorama. Residents also have access to underground secure parking with valet service.

The complex was completed in the 3rd quarter of 2022.

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IL Primo premium residential complex in Dubai

Surf Building

This low-rise complex sits on the waterfront of Creek Harbour, with the sea just a 2-minute walk away. It comprises two buildings, 7 and 9 stories high, connected by a city square with adult and children's pools and shaded relaxation areas.

Surf Building offers apartments with 2 and 3 bedrooms, featuring premium finishes in a modern style, equipped kitchens, and bathrooms. Balconies offer views of Dubai Creek. The interior finishing is in soft beige tones, with walls painted in milky and beige shades and floors covered in large-format light tiles.

During the day, residents can relax by the cool swimming pool or head to the modern gym for comfortable workouts. Landscaped gardens and green spaces are ideal for leisurely family walks and outdoor activities. Equipped barbecue areas are perfect for lunches or gatherings with friends.

The complex was completed in the second quarter of 2023.

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Facade of the Surf Building residential complex in Dubai

District One

Located in the prestigious Mohammed Bin Rashid City, just 4 kilometers from the city center, District One boasts the world's largest artificial Crystal Lagoon with a 14-kilometer promenade for family strolls at its heart.

The developer offers residents various layout options, including apartments with 1-4 bedrooms in light tones with private terraces. Additionally, District One offers luxurious villas and elegant mansions. The complex comprises 1,500 villas, 18 mansions, and 70 buildings with spacious apartments.

The district will feature the Meydan One Mall and The Seagull Point tower with a gym, library, and public spaces.

The complex was completed in the fourth quarter of 2023.

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Elite residential complex District One

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Conclusion

If you're considering remodeling your new projects in Dubai but are concerned about document errors, call +971 (4) 450-2640. Our specialists are knowledgeable about the UAE and will assist you in drafting documents or obtaining permits from various authorities.