x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Find a flat with the click of a mouse

Property management companies must sign up to electronic system in move to streamline and standardise leasing process in Abu Dhabi.

A To Let sign advertises the availability of villas for rent in Abu Dhabi.
A To Let sign advertises the availability of villas for rent in Abu Dhabi.

ABU DHABI // Potential tenants will have access to a database of all leasable properties across the capital within the next six months.

The electronic register, which will be searchable by unit types, price and location, will list all residential, commercial and industrial units in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain.

The database is one of several municipal initiatives intended to simplify the process for finding and leasing property in the emirate.

Called Tawtheeq, the system will keep track of all rental contracts, which will be standardised, and will allow tenants and property owners to conduct all rental transactions online.

The first phase of the project, officially launched yesterday by the municipality, requires all property management companies and property owners to register to use the system, at a cost of Dh1,000 per property and Dh5 per unit. Registering, renewing or modifying a rental contract using Tawtheeq will cost between Dh50 and Dh100.

It is now mandatory to register all leasable properties and file tenancy contracts through the system.

The project is an effort to regulate the property sector in the emirate and is the result of an Executive Council decree. All tenancy contracts, including those already in effect, must be entered into the system before the project's second phase begins in six months.

Municipality officials touted the project as a way to streamline rental transactions.

"The aim is to provide the best services to the community with the least effort and the least inconvenience," said Ali al Hashimi, the project manager for Tawtheeq in Abu Dhabi. "It will be easy to accomplish all rental transactions with ease, in the convenience of residents' own homes."

The municipality hopes to have most of the capital's property management companies on board within the next three months, with property owners following within six months.

The second phase will begin after the set-up is complete and will allow the system to be used for all rental transactions - including registering a new contract and renewing or terminating an old one.

The purpose of Tawtheeq is three-pronged. By standardising the tenancy contracts, which will also be accredited by the municipality, the system is meant to safeguard tenants' rights. A common database will also help to keep accurate and up-to-date statistics on vacancies and rental prices.

"This is particularly relevant given the ongoing large-scale urbanisation in Abu Dhabi, making it imperative to compile a database to serve as a useful reference to decision-makers, official entities, investors, companies, researchers and academicians," said Khalifa al Mazroui, the general manager of the municipality.

Mr al Hashimi would not disclose how many properties are currently available in Abu Dhabi.

Workshops are being conducted to train municipal staff on how to use the system, so they can help property owners and tenants access Tawtheeq.

Mr al Hashimi said the project would simplify a system that is not currently regulated.

"Above all, some of the really important features of Tawtheeq are transparency, privacy and clarity, and helping to build close relationships between customers and owners," he said.

The registration system will also be linked to other government services, including water, electricity and sewage.

"Our main objective is not to levy any fines or interfere in the day-to-day operations of property owners, but if they don't register, the tenancy contracts will not be accepted by other government departments," said Mr al Hashimi.

In the long term, the municipality expects that Tawtheeq will make finding and marketing available flats easier, cut down on property inspection and auditing costs, paint a clearer picture of the market, and help to manage rent levels.

The system is also expected to begin in Al Gharbia some time this year.