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Abu Dhabi Short-Term Rental Market to be Regulated

The Abu Dhabi short-term rental market is set to be regulated, requiring owners to obtain a licence and pay fees to legally operate.

Property owners operating in the  short-term rental market will pay the city’s tourism authority six per cent of their rental income.

Fines will be imposed on unlicensed units and those that do not meet the minimum service guidelines.

The Department of Culture and Tourism have said that regulating the short-term rental market will ensure the safety of visitors and maintain standards.

Acting undersecretary, Saood Al Hosani, said: ‘The regulations will enable us to register all these units in one system, while providing a database for all licensed vacation homes in Abu Dhabi.

The department said the licensing system will be brought in soon but did not provide a date. The six per cent charge is the same as the existing tourism fee on hotel stays.

At present, the Abu Dhabi short-term rental market exists in a grey area, though regulation has been on the horizon for several years.

Abu Dhabi’s tourism department said it will manage the supply of units in Abu Dhabi to ensure fair competition and improve the experience of visitors. The new rules will be available online and a licensing portal will soon be launched.

Industry figures said the decision by the Executive Council of Abu Dhabi to regulate the market should be welcomed.

‘This will open up the short-term rental market in the UAE as Abu Dhabi is growing in stature as a tourist destination,’ said Shilpa Mahtani, chief operating officer of BnbME, which manages short-term rents for owners.

‘Having this regulation will definitely put a check on unlicensed units, since licences will be given out only to a select few.

Overseas property investors and holiday home owners interested in the short-term rental market can contact the tourism department’s licensing section for more details at info@dctabudhabi.ae

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