Q- I am a British expatriate working in Dubai. Can you briefly explain the main characteristics of the recent Property Law? As the property owner, will I get 100 per cent title over my property?
Answer: The Dubai Property Law No. 7 of 2006 confirms the right of UAE and GCC nationals to own property anywhere in Dubai and makes provision for expatriates to own freehold properties or on 99-year lease in the areas designated for that purpose. All freehold properties must be registered with the Dubai Lands Department. The new law paves the way for expatriate home owners to register their properties in their names with Dubai Lands and Properties Department. Once the property is registered in the concerned department, they will issue title to the owner. The department issues ownership certificates regarding property rights, which are considered ultimate evidence to prove property rights.
Prior to the law being enacted expatriates were not allowed to register their properties in their name. It was registered under the name of the developers. As per the memorandum of understanding or the sale contract signed between the buyer and the developer, the developer assured to transfer the title of the property in the name of the expatriate buyer. Developers also assured that freehold titles would be granted as soon as the law comes into practice.
In the wake of the law, the Land Department will transfer titles to the names of the existing freehold property owners. New buyers and those who want to resell the property have to visit the department.
Q: I am looking forward to buying property in Dubai. As the title holder of the property, can I mortgage it to a bank and obtain loan or resell it?
Answer: As the title holder of the property, you have the right to mortgage the property and avail bank loan or derive any other benefit from it. Mortgages must be registered with the Land Department. The law says that all property transactions and deals that result in giving, moving, changing or removing property rights, must be registered with the property register. The law also stipulates the setting up of a property registration office at the Dubai Lands and Properties Department. This office will be responsible for documenting property rights and their amendments.
According to the law, a multi-storey property is considered as single property unit that shall be given one entry in the property record. All apartments of a single property unit will have supplementary records that include names of the owners of its apartments, storeys and any common facilities. The inheritance notification must be registered with the property register, in case heirs have property rights within their inheritance and no dealings will be admitted unless registered.
The law will be followed by a number of new bylaws that will identify the freehold areas in Dubai and determine the registration fees and procedures.
The said law has to be published in the official gazette in order to give its effect. — Compiled by Eman Al Baik
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