Essential Real Estate Terms to Understand Before Investing or Renting in Dubai

Purchasing property in Dubai or other parts of the UAE for some nice ROI may sound like an exciting prospect for investors, while renting may be a requirement for some who’re not looking to get their own homes yet. 

While Dubai is popular and highly sought-after the world over as the land of economic possibilities and a hotbed for real estate investment deals, getting equipped and familiar with the real estate investment terms and definitions here is another topic altogether.

Many of the essential real estate terms you hear when you first decide to buy or make an investment in Dubai are in Arabic. While you’re not required to be well-versed in Arabic to get things going for you in this land of dreams, you will have to understand and learn some of these key real estate terms and important abbreviations before you make any transaction.

Put your worries aside and have a look at these common terms to make your real estate processes as seamless as possible.



Al-Sa’fat is Dubai’s government initiative to enhance and promote sustainable development in the United Arab Emirates. In alignment with the tremendous focus globally on sustainable and eco-friendly living and practices, the UAE has made special efforts to foster sustainable practices in all its construction and development projects.

The basis of Al-Sa’fat stems from Dubai Municipality’s ‘Green Buildings Specifications,’ a framework that made it necessary to construct sustainable government buildings in Dubai from 2011 onwards. Now, this rule is mandatory for all sorts of construction projects in the city.

According to the Al-Sa’fat code, development procedures are carried out with eco-friendly practices in focus, such as reducing water waste and use of alternate energy sources like solar panels. Further, the consumption of resources is strictly monitored under strict guidelines.



Foreigners new to Dubai often ask “What is Ejari”? If you’ve been dabbling in Dubai’s real estate market, ‘Ejari’ is one of the first few Arabic terms you may have heard frequently. Ejari registration is a system for rental contracts. Through this system, tenants and landlords officially register their rental agreements with local responsible authorities.

Such registration is essential if you rent a Dubai property. The Ejari system makes the rental contract legal, official, and binding. It is your ticket to avail residential facilities and amenities as a tenant, such as water and electricity, phone and internet services, and sponsoring your dependents. 

Future matters related to your rental contract, like rental income dispute settlements, are also handled through the Ejari system.



Don’t be overwhelmed by the frequent use of the term ‘Makani’ or ‘Makani Number’Makani is an Arabic term that translates to ‘my location’. It is similar to Google Maps but a localized version, if you may. 

The Makani is an intelligent navigation system that identifies all public places, landmarks, and buildings through a unique ten-digit identification number called the ‘Makani Number’.

Navigating your way across the city becomes seamless and manageable through this smart geolocation system that allows you to share your location, identify and locate buildings, and even send a distress signal during a crisis. Through the Makani system, you can send your location for assistance using the emergency location reporting feature.



Trakheesi is another Arabic term you may or may not have heard of in UAE real estate. It’s more relevant for agents than other stakeholders. It refers to an official system for real estate agents which provides them with essential licensing documents and approvals required for practice.

All real estate agents, brokerage firms, and agencies must be registered with the Trakheesi system to get the required permits and licenses that link them to different property listing portals in the country. Professional real estate practices, measures, and processes like website creation can only be done once integrated with the Trakheesi mechanism. 

Set in place by the Dubai Economic Development Authority, the Trakheesi system is an intelligent network that joins brokerage firms and agents with property listing websites and portals.



Tasdeeq in Arabic means ‘attestation’. In practice, Tasdeeq is an attestation system in Ajman that legitimizes tenancy contracts, agreements, and other miscellaneous real estate transactions. 

Specifically catering to tenancy documents and services, the Tasdeeq system lists and overlooks several services relevant to Ajman’s residential and commercial property rental contracts. 

So if you’re looking to invest in Ajman, Tasdeeq is not only a term but an entire system that you must acquaint yourself with. It legalizes and makes official all things rent and real estate related in the city. Reading up further on the list of services included within this framework will familiarize you with your entitlements as a tenant and all the requisites of tenancy contracts.



Tawtheeq does for the capital, Abu Dhabi, what Ejari does for Dubai. Like the Ejari, Tawtheeq is a tenancy contract registration system that authorizes your entitlement as a legal tenant in the city to all amenities and facilities like internet and phone connections, electricity and water supply, sponsorships of dependents, commute and transport cards, and so on.



Another useful term to get acquainted with upon entering Dubai is ‘Musataha’. Suppose you are looking to lease land in the country for a couple of years and build wealth upon it, but you lack the resources or the will to purchase the land. In that case, Musataha is the solution to your real estate issues. 

Musataha is a real estate contract available for lease arrangements in the UAE. The Musataha agreement allows an individual to lease land from its owner for up to 50 years without actually ‘buying’ the land. Once contracted, they can use the land for whatever legal purpose they want, such as construction or agriculture, for the years the lease is applicable. 

The construction done on the leased land is under the builder’s authority and ownership without any rights given to the landowner. The builder’s rights to the land or the property constructed over it end with the lease’s expiry, however.  

The Musataha is an excellent system for individuals and companies to carry out construction and other productive pursuits on a piece of land without the obligation of purchasing it. Through the Musataha agreement, the government has made strides to encourage construction and development projects in the country in a seamless and manageable way.



Another frequent question people new to Dubai often ask, “What is Oqood”? Oqood is a common term related to off-plan projects in Dubai. It is a standardized system put in place by the Dubai Land Department that oversees all real-estate matters of off-plan construction projects in the city.


Through the Oqood portal, buyers and sellers of under-construction projects can easily do an Oqood login and carry out real estate transactions online fairly and transparently, following the regulations set forth by the local authorities. 

An initiative taken for the seamless regulation and management of the Dubai off-plan market, the Oqood system oversees and supervises all off-plan property transactions.



 A comparatively newer scheme introduced by the Dubai Land Department (DLD), the Ijarah is an excellent system for tenants of a property to convert their rental payments into equity. 

Also known as the ‘Rent-to-Own’ (RTO) scheme, Ijarah makes it possible for tenants to eventually become owners of the property they rent through a system of rental payments that are transformed into equity payments for the property. Thus, each rental payment you make contributes towards a life-long investment.



Similar to the Al Sa’fat of Dubai, the Estidama is a methodology of sustainable development in the capital. It focuses on eco-friendly construction methodologies and design principles overseeing all development in Abu Dhabi.

The Estidama ensures prime allocation and use of resources and seeks alternative energy sources for construction processes. It ensures the avoidance of wastage and the use of sustainable elements and practices within the real estate industry. 

Initiatives like the Estidama Dubai and Al-Sa’fat are efforts made by the UAE government in tandem with global sustainable living goals leading to a secure and sustainable future.



DLD is a necessary abbreviation you must get familiar with at the onset of your real estate investment journey in Dubai. It stands for Dubai Land Department, the main governing body for real estate in Dubai. All matters pertaining to real estate investment and rentals come under the authority and jurisdiction of the DLD. 

The DLD manages and oversees efficient and fair transactions governing the purchase, selling, or leasing of property. The government-run institution is responsible for protecting the rights and interests of the investors, landlords, and tenants. 

Through DLD’s official framework, all real estate investment and rental affairs are seamlessly overlooked and supervised. These include dispute resolutions, customer services, and legalizing other property-related matters.



RERA is an abbreviation for ‘Real Estate Regulatory Agency’ and is a sub-division of the DLD. This body is solely responsible for drafting the rules and regulations governing Dubai real estate market. All matters pertaining to tenancy, buying and selling property, or registering contracts are handled by RERA Dubai.




An abbreviation for ‘Rental Dispute Center,’ RDC is a sub-division of the DLD and an institution you may want to get familiar with if you are looking to rent property in Dubai. 

As its name suggests, the RDC overlooks handling all rental disputes to seamlessly reach positive solutions and outcomes. Conflicts that the landlord and tenant cannot resolve at their end are taken to the RDC Dubai office, which ensures a fair and transparent solution to the issue. 

The RDC maintains a fair, legal, and transparent system within the Dubai real estate market through its practices and procedures.


Shari’a Compliant

Shari’a is an Arabic term for Islamic law. Shari’a compliance refers to all services and procedures drafted in accordance with the Islamic regulations of financing. 

The Shari’a body or committee provides the framework for these financial aspects of products and services, including real estate investments and transactions.

Wrapping Up

Once you are well-versed with these essential terms commonly used in the UAE real estate sector, you can carry out your investment or lease transactions more confidently. Knowing these key real estate terms will ensure you make informed decisions whether you are buying or selling property, looking towards investment in an off-plan project, or exploring your tenancy rights.


Lay all your real estate worries to rest by starting your buying and selling journey with Maple & Rose Real Estate.

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