Five things you should know about buyers’ and developers’ rights in Dubai


From the rights of developers to repossess to the increased protection afforded to buyers in the event of a liquidated project, we cover five topics the real estate community in Dubai should know more about.

1. What rights do expats have to purchase and lease property in Dubai?

Freehold

The number of designated areas where freehold title is available to expatriate residents is rapidly expanding. Under Regulation No.3 (2006) Determining areas for Ownership by Non-Nationals of Real Property in the Emirate of Dubai, foreign ownership is limited to certain designated areas. There are now over 60 such designated areas in Dubai, including premium locations such as Emirates Hills, The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Bay. Purchasing a freehold property confers ownership rights in perpetuity, enabling the owner to deal with the property however they like.

Leasehold

Expatriate residents may also acquire short and long leasehold rights.

Short leases:

  • run up to 10 years
  • must be registered with RERA (ejari)
  • are subject to the Landlord & Tenant Law
  • are subject to the jurisdiction of the Rental Disputes Committee in the event of dispute, and
  • can apply to property anywhere in Dubai.

Long leases:

  • run from 10 – 99 years
  • must be registered with the Dubai Land Department (DLD)
  • are not subject to the Landlord & Tenant Law
  • are subject to the jurisdiction of the Dubai Courts in the event of dispute, and
  • can apply to properties anywhere in Dubai for UAE and GCC nationals, and to properties in designated areas for expatriates.

Usufruct and musataha

These are rights granted under the Civil Code that are akin to leasehold rights. Under the usufruct arrangement the property cannot be altered, whereas under the musataha scheme it can be developed. The term of both is usually restricted to 50 years.

Whatever ownership vehicle you chose, the scope of rights and range of properties available in Dubai is constantly expanding.

2. What is the role of Dubai’s Supreme Committee for Real Estate Planning?

The overarching aim of Dubai’s Supreme Committee for Real Estate Planning (the Committee) is to increase competitiveness and ensure that future projects planned by the government and government-related entities do not compete with private investment in the Dubai real estate sector.

The Committee is led by HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed Al Maktoum and the counsel is made up of members from the Executive Council, the DLD and the Dubai Municipality, as well as leading real estate developers such as Wasl Properties, Meraas, Nakheel and Meydan. This plethora of experience from both the public and private sectors is designed to allow the Committee to both safeguard market regulation and provide knowledgeable insights into the expansion of the Dubai real estate sector.

The Committee monitors and evaluates the needs of the market and regulates the pace of projects, with the aim of achieving a balance between supply and demand. We welcome this centralised approach.

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