x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Online watchdog system starts for off-plan property

Property sales to be be registered with detailed data on sales.

An online system for registering "off plan" property sales in Dubai has been started by Dubai Land Department and the emirate's property regulator, RERA. Known as Oqood, the Arabic word for contracts, the system will allow developers to register the sale of properties that have been launched on the market, but are still under construction, a sales phase known as "off plan".

Backers of the new system say the availability of a database of sales transactions will minimise conflicts between developers, investors and sellers about who owns what in Dubai's numerous property projects. Its introduction follows the announcement in August of a law requiring purchases of uncompleted flats and villas bought off plan to be registered with the land department before they can be sold again.

At the time, the move was seen as a way of limiting quick resale, or "flipping", by speculative investors. More than 80,000 units have been registered so far, including residential apartments, villas, offices and shops for 230 developers who entered their details during the preliminary phase of the programme, the DLD said. The system "will help ensure the availability of detailed data on private proprietorship of all real estate that have been sold off-plan in Dubai", said Ahmad al Qaizi, the chief executive at Emirates Real Estate Solutions, the developer of the system and a subsidiary of the land department

"It will also protect customers' rights through safeguarding the development against any manipulation." The registration charge will be the same as that levied by the land department; one per cent of the total value paid by the seller and one per cent to be paid by the buyer. The list of services available on the website, which are geared towards project developers, includes land registration, data entry on new developments, opening escrow accounts and registering all real estate sales and transaction details.

Buyers will also be able to access the site (www.oqood.ae) and take a copy of the section in which their ownership is recorded. This will act as a sales receipt when they apply for their official property title deed from the land department Users must obtain login names and passwords before they can access the site. rditcham@thenational.ae