Cost of living in Abu Dhabi to increase as municipality imposes expatriate fee

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The emirate of Abu Dhabi has imposed a fee on expatriates renting homes there as it seeks to increase state revenues that have fallen due to low crude prices.

Abu Dhabi Executive Council issued the decree on the housing fee (3 percent of the annual rent) in February 2016, which came into effect on February 25, 2016. It sets the minimum annual fee at AED450,

The expat housing fee will be backdated to February 2016, when the decree was issued and has to be paid in a single payment, an Abu Dhabi Municipality (ADM) official confirmed to Arabian Business.

While the fee for 2016 is expected to be paid in one lump sum, the 2017 fee will be split into monthly instalments, beginning January, and will be included in monthly utility bills, the official said.

Last January Abu Dhabi hiked water and electricity charges, and in July the International Monetary Fund estimated the government would run a fiscal deficit of 6.9 percent of gross domestic product in 2016.

Authorities decided on the fee last year but delayed its introduction because procedures to implement it were not yet in place. The department did not say how much the measure, from which UAE nationals are exempt, would raise.

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Dubai Municipality also imposes a five percent housing fee, which is calculated on the annual rent and paid in 12 instalments as part of their monthly Dewa bills. It is mandatory for tenants and home owner-occupiers to pay the fee.

Published on 6 January 2017


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