x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Q&A Dubai sets the standard

a After property developers and brokers, valuers are the next category of property players to be regulated in Dubai. A new property law is under consideration for enactment by the end of this year.

At the moment valuers follow different codes of ethics and standards, including the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) qualification. None of them are legally binding in the UAE, though. No official entity monitors the valuation process. Property owners who want their portfolio to be valued sometimes exert pressure on valuers to overstate its value. The new law is meant to give more transparency to the market.

Companies providing valuations are mainly registered as brokers or property service providers, with the Department for Economic Development (DED), which is the government body that issues trade licences.

The Dubai Land Department will register valuers via a new administrative body called Taqyeem, and give licences to valuers via the DED. This will allow companies to have the term 'valuation' on their trade licence. It will also give an idea of the exact number of valuers in the market.

In addition to having the right academic background and work experience, valuers will need to sit a course and do an exam at the Land Department. They will have to sign up to a code of ethics and use a valuation standard which is being drafted by the Land Department. This is expected to be very similar to the international standards set by the International Valuation Standards Committee to which the RICS subscribes. Registration will be renewed annually and valuers will need to provide evidence of continual professional development, to ensure that they are doing courses and training.

The Land Department registers all the property sales transactions in Dubai, in addition to the developers themselves, the brokers and the projects. Registered valuers will have access to all this data and be able to see data on land prices as well as lease and rental rates. They will be able to base their valuation on solid data, which has not always the case, as they rely on brokers' information. It is also expected that valuers will be requested to inform the Land Department of their work and document it. The department will have access to their reports.