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Commercial Villa Rules In Abu Dhabi

30th August 2015

Guest post from Ben Crompton, Managing Partner at Crompton Partners Estate Agents, about the rules for leasing commercial villas in Abu Dhabi.

So you are thinking of opening a business in Abu Dhabi and wondering if you can open it in a villa. Prior to 2011 all types of commercial enterprise were permitted in villas, and due to the scarcity of commercial space they were often used as offices for companies. The 2008-2009 slump lead to more and more office space becoming available and in an effort to drive companies out of villas Administrative Resolution 32 of 2011 “Maintenance of Privacy of Residential Areas in the City of Abu Dhabi” was passed. This stated that only the following businesses could now be conducted in villas:

  • Nurseries;

  • Medical Centres;

  • Ladies Health Spas;

  • Ladies Sports Clubs;

  • Vocational Centres for those with special needs;

  • Elderly Care Centres; and

  • Other businesses, or trade or vocational or social activities for which applications are made.

So the list of permitted businesses is pretty clear, and limited. We have noticed that some applications have also been granted for cafes and restaurants recently as well, which would seem to fall under the final bullet point above. What is pretty clear however is that use of villas as office space is now not permitted (except for one specific area of Abu Dhabi in Al Bateen which still retains such permissions).

The villas which can be used for businesses must also conform with certain criteria before they will be passed by the Municipality. These vary depending upon the business type (Medical Centres and Nurseries requiring different permissions to SPAs ect) but all of the villas must be: stand alone i.e. not attached to another villa; and facing a main road.

In addition to these characteristics you will need to get approval from the relevant section of the Abu Dhabi Municipality to carry on your business there.

I hope that makes it clear.

Ben Crompton, Managing Partner, Crompton Partners Estate Agents Abu Dhabi

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