Property executives in Abu Dhabi are applauding the Government's new system to register rental properties.
"Anything that gives more protection to both landlord and the tenant is a good thing," said Jane Irvine, the director of business development for LLJ Property.
The system, known as Tawtheeq and announced this week, will create a database of all residential, commercial and industrial properties for rent. Property seekers will be able to search by unit type, price and location.
The programme, which is similar to the Ejari system launched last year in Dubai, will provide standardised contracts and require landlords to file rental agreements online.
"It will provide transparency in the market," said Renan Bordeau, the managing director of the local portal PropertyFinder.ae.
The site will offer consumers the opportunity to search for available rentals, which could draw consumers away from portals such as PropertyFinder. But Mr Bordeau said the system would add information to the market.
"I don't see it as direct competition," he said. "I think it is more of a governmental tool to help regulate the market."
Tawtheeq will allow users and the Government to monitor rental prices and generate data on market trends.
"I support any regulation that increases transparency and protects the rights of landlords and tenants," said Kosta Giannopoulos, the head of property management for Better Homes.
"However, care must be taken to ensure that regulations can be practically implemented and do not have a negative impact on the ability of landlords and tenants to transact."
Property management companies and owners will be required to pay Dh1,000 (US$272) a property and Dh5 a unit to register as system users. And they will be required to pay between Dh50 and Dh100 to register, renew or modify contracts.
"It's just one of those things that will have to be swallowed up," Ms Irvine said.
The system will help to weed out unscrupulous landlords who may misrepresent their role in a property, agents say. It will also prevent landlords from overcharging and bring standardisation to contracts, which must be filed with Tawtheeq.
Tawtheeq's standardised contract for rental agreements should also help to minimise disputes.
"I think it provides a confidence factor for tenants that they have a valid contract," Ms Irvine said. "And ultimately it gives landlords more security."