x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Dubai property watchdog launches site to cut rent scam risks

The Real Estate Regulatory Authority (Rera) orders companies to post listings online in a bid to cut scam risks.

DUBAI // Dubai's property watchdog has begun posting listings of properties for sale and rent online.

The centralised, multi-listing website - www.simsari.ae - is designed to provide an accurate record of all properties for sale or rent in Dubai, and is intended to offer investors more choice and greater security.

In June, the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (Rera) ordered property firms to register on Simsari by the end of August or face penalties. The authority had said the website's use would be mandatory from last month.

Yousef Al Hashmi, the senior director of Rera's licensing department, said 209 companies had registered in the system so far. Registered brokers are being trained on how to use the system, he said.

A post on the website states: "Good things take time. We are putting the final touches to Simsari multi-listing service."

Real estate firms welcomed the multi-listing service, saying it would deter the recurrence of property scams in the emirate.

"The bottom line is that transactions will not be registered with the Land Department unless it goes through Simsari," said Manish Khatri, the vice president of business development and sales at SPF Realty. "It also gives investors the best option because all brokers will have access to see what is available and they will know who to call.

"With a central database system, all brokers can cooperate regardless of who has the property. The market should be free so the client has a chance to choose whichever property he wants and brokers must cooperate with each other. "

The system will also prevent owners from listing the same property with multiple brokers - Rera guidelines state an owner can give a mandate to a maximum of three property firms.

"It will also stop owners from checking the market and [reactively] changing the property price. In this system an owner must say what price range he intends to sell at," Mr Khatri said. "Since you are tied in for a time period, it affords more transparency."

An intensive marketing campaign for Simsari will begin next month to ensure all property in the emirate is listed on the service by next year.