x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

New law to promote and protect Dubai property sector

The Land Department’s role now includes introducing new policies, procedures and strategies to promote and protect the real estate sector as outlined in a new law issued by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Ruler of Dubai.

DUBAI // A new law issued by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, will expand the role of the Land Department.

The department’s role was broadened yesterday to include introduction of policies, procedures and strategies to promote and protect the real estate sector.

It will do this by boosting control and implementing international standards to encourage investment, according to the state news agency Wam.

The law comes days after an official decree ordering the setting up of a rental dispute settlement centre that will end disputes within 30 days in the emirate, including in free zones.

Apart from the department’s responsibility of registration and organisation of real estate in Dubai, it is hoped it will provide an attractive environment for investment by implementing international standards.

The Land Department’s new role was welcomed by experts.

“It is a positive development because it gives the Land Department more authority to influence the real estate market,” said Craig Plumb, head of research for the Middle East and North Africa at the property management company Jones Lang LaSalle.

“This clarifies the powers of the Land Department, increases its role and calls for using global best practices and standards.

“Clearly another government objective is to increase real investment, and if the department improves transparency it will attract more investment.

“If this encourages the Land Department to provide more information to developers and investors, it will be a good thing for the market because that is what we need. Then developers can make more informed decisions.”

Sam Wani, the general manager of mortgage brokers Independent Finance, said the new law was part of the progression for the Land Department.

“It has been heading in that direction because now you will see a clear-cut policy framework for real estate,” he said.

“When the industry was in its infancy the department started from the bottom up and was involved in conducting transfers for buying and selling. But now its has picked up that knowledge and will be involved in strategy and policy. It’s a natural progression to a higher level. There will be more firm regulation and this will be of international standards.”

The department is now authorised to assess the performance of its subsidiaries. It will also run quality control measures on its operations and services, and prepare and maintain a unified central database for real estate in the emirate.

Another of its roles will be to update and develop real estate registration systems and procedures to regulate escrow accounts of developers.

rtalwar@thenational.ae