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property law

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July 12, 2015

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The Evolution of Dubai Real Estate Laws

Rent cap

I believe that all legislation since 2006 have boosted the confidence of homeowners in Dubai.

However, the amendments in the tenancy law, Decree 43/2013, have been a landmark legislation that encouraged investors to invest and make profit while renting out their properties without interfering on the rights of the tenants.

The new decree provided a cap on rental increase upon the renewal of the tenancy lease.

The increase is now dependent on the rental index of a particular area which is brought out by the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA).

Escrow law and off-plan properties

The escrow law introduced in 2007 is an effective safeguard for investors if applied in a proper way.

According to the existing legislation, an escrow account or a guarantee account will be opened by the developer of a real estate project.

All the money collected by the developer from the homeowners and the financiers of the project will be deposited in this account, and this money can be used only for the purposes of constructing the real estate project.

Money from the escrow account can be used to make payments for the land, contractors, consultants and marketing-related activities for the specific project.

However, not all expenses spent by the developer of the project can be paid from the escrow account. Only 5 per cent of the total sales amount can be used for marketing the project.

Inheritance law

The new Wills and Probate Registry at Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), which is still under discussion, will make it possible for non-Muslim expatriates who own properties in Dubai to register their will.

This allows them to transfer their assets to anyone according to their wishes and will not be guided by the Shariah laws.

It is another big step to boost investment in the real estate sector.

On purchasing a commercial property

When buying a freehold commercial property, check the reputation of the developer and its track record of finishing projects on time. Ensure the handover date is fixed. Study the sales and purchase agreement (SPA), ensuring your allotted area is mentioned and you are entitled to use the common areas.

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