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Details of the new Dubai property law

Source: Gulf News Staff Report

Date: 14th March 2006


Dubai: The long-awaited Dubai property law was issued yesterday by His
Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime
Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The law says expatriates are now among those who can own properties in
Dubai.

Law No.7 of 2006 stipulates that freehold is limited to UAE and GCC
citizens and companies wholly owned by them, as well as public
shareholding companies.

The law also stipulates that upon approval of Dubai's Ruler, non-UAE
nationals may be given the right to own properties in some parts of
Dubai.

They may be given the right to acquire a freehold property, or a 99-year
lease property, in areas designated by the Ruler.

The law includes 11 chapters comprising 29 articles covering the issues
of definitions, general rules, the implementation system of property
hold, and the jurisdictions of the Dubai lands and properties
Department.

It 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. Its
records hold the ultimate evidence against all - without exceptions. Its
records cannot be challenged except in the case of forgery.

The law says that a multi-storey property is considered a 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.

Following are the excerpts of the new Property Registration Law:

Article No.3

Provisions of this law are applied to properties located in Dubai.

Article No.4

Freehold is limited to UAE and GCC citizens and companies wholly owned
by them, as well as public shareholding companies.

The law also stipulates that, upon approval of Dubai's Ruler, non-UAE
nationals may be given the right to own properties in some parts of
Dubai, designated by the Ruler, on a freehold basis, or a 99-year lease.

Article No.5

The original documents and judicial rulings upon which properties are
registered are to be kept at the Lands and Properties Department.

It bans the removal of documents from the department. Judicial bodies or
any expert or committees assigned are authorised to review the documents
and get attested copies.

Article No.6

The Lands Department is solely assigned to register property rights and
long-term leasing contracts as stipulated in Article No.4 of this law.

Under the law, the department will carry out the following duties:

1-Specifying survey areas or re-conducting surveys and attesting
location maps.

2-Specifying rules related survey and releasing maps related to property
units.

3- Preparing model property contracts.

4-Setting rules related to regulating, keeping and destroying documents.

5-Setting rules related to the use of Computer in data entry and saving.

6- Setting rules related to the regulation and keeping the records of
property brokers.

7-Setting rules related to the assessment of properties.

8-Setting rules related to the sale of properties in auctions, and
supervising the auctions.

9-Fixing fees for services offered by the department.

10- Setting up branches of the department upon the director's
discretion.

Article No.7

A property register at the Dubai Lands and Properties Department shall
be set up for documenting property rights and their amendments. Its
records hold the ultimate evidence against all without exceptions. Its
records cannot be challenged except in the case of forgery.

Article No.8

Documents of the property register which are electronically saved, have
the same evidential value of the original documents.

Article No.9

All property transactions and deals that result in giving, moving,
changing or removing property rights, must be registered with the
property register. And so must all the final rulings that prove such
dealings, which are not considered valid until they are registered.

Article No.10

To undertake transferring any property rights is limited to the
contractor's commitment to the guarantee if he defaulted on his
contractual duties whether a compensation was stipulated in the
undertaking or not.

Article No.11

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.

Article No.12

The department has the authority to look into applications submitted by
owners of unregistered lands seeking to settle their legal status.

Article No.13

The department can correct purely financial errors in the property
register upon a request by applicants or on its own, with informing
concerned parties.

Article No.14

The department coordinates updating property data with parties
concerned.

Article No.15

The registration of property areas and units at the property register
must be based on typographic, property unit and property area maps. It
also reads that each property area must have an independent map,
manifesting all property units in the area and their numbers.

Each property unit must also have a separate map, showing its location,
boundaries, length, area and buildings, and the numbers of neighbouring
units.

The law also stipulates that any amendment to the property unit, whether
by dividing or merging units must be registered with the property
register.

The department issues ownership certificates regarding property rights,
which are considered ultimate evidence to prove property rights.

The above-mentioned certificates must include any terms, conditions,
undertakings or any other commitments.

The provisions of federal civil transactions law No.5 of 1985 and its
amendments are still valid in the cases not stipulated by this law.

Any agreement or deal concluded in violation of this law is invalid. Any
person, department or public prosecution has the right to contest such a
deal.

This law abrogates the provisions of the decree concerning legal and
penal suites related to land transactions in Dubai, dated November 6,
1997

The Chairman of the department issues the necessary regulations and
rules to put this law into effect.

The law shall be published in the official gazette, and is to be taken
into force from the date of its issuance.

- Compiled by Khitam Al Amir and Dina Abu Al Hosn/Staff Reporter

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