Understanding Dubai’s Property Ownership Laws

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Whether you are an investor or wish to buy property in Dubai, you ought first to understand Dubai’s Property Ownership Laws. 

Here we have broken down Dubai property laws, specifically the new laws on expropriation of property for public use in Dubai. We will get to know what the law means and how it will affect property owners in Dubai. 

If you aspire to own properties in Dubai, you ought to understand the Dubai property ownership laws. 

Since the opening of Dubai’s residential market to foreigners in 2002, the city has attracted many ex-pats and international purchasers. Foreigners can purchase property in leasehold areas, which are often located around the city center, or in freehold regions dispersed throughout the Emirate. Leasehold areas are typically located near the city center.

There has been a huge growth in the number of units available to foreigners throughout time, and there is currently an excess of apartment, villa, and townhouse units for sale.

The tax-free status enjoyed by the Emirate has surely played a significant impact in attracting foreign investment. After implementing a Value Added Tax in the United Arab Emirates in 2018, residential homes in Dubai continue to be tax-free. These properties are either zero-rated or completely free from property taxation.

Additionally, foreigners and their dependents who invest at least AED 1 million in a completed freehold property with a valid title deed (in other words, this visa is not available to individuals who invest in off-plan properties) are eligible to apply for a residential visa to remain in Dubai. 

Purchasing property in Dubai is easy. You need to have a valid passport and visa. You get UAE tourist visa which will allow you up to 30 days as you look for property to buy. 

To find the correct property and complete the relevant paperwork, the buyer can collaborate with local real estate brokers or directly with the developer.

Dubai’s Property Ownership Laws

On property ownership laws, the laws were issued by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and the Ruler of Dubai. The law touched on the expropriation of property for public use in Dubai.

The government came up with the law so that the rights of owners of confiscated property are protected. In addition, to ensure there is full and fair compensation in accordance with the laws in place. 

The implementation of Dubai property ownership laws will start after the Chairman of the Court of His Highness, the Ruler of Dubai, issues decision on how will the committee be formed, who will be the member of the committee, how the decision making process will be, and how they will be the expropriation procedures.

The committee’s formation is subject to Decree No. (28) Of 2015 on the governance of the Dubai Government’s councils and committees.

In addition to examining expropriation requests, the Expropriation Committee is also tasked with determining whether or not it is feasible to expropriate property to achieve the objectives of a particular project.

Land grants are among the alternatives to expropriating property for a project that the committee may suggest. It will also determine whether a planned project necessitates whole or partial expropriation and the amount of compensation to be paid to the expropriated property.

Ordinances issued by the Ruler of Dubai for the expropriation of property in Dubai take precedence over the committee’s power.

Dubai’s Property Ownership Lawson Real Property Registration

Even though their property ownership in Dubai is to be implemented, their Property Ownership Lawson Real Property Registration will apply. Here are all UAE laws on real property registration that will be applied;

  • The provisions of Law No. 7 of 2006 concerning Real Property Registration in the Emirate of Dubai (the ‘Dubai Law No. 7 of 2006 on Real Property Registration’)
  • Federal Law no. 28 of 2005 related to Personal Status (the ‘Personal Status Law of UAE’)
  • Law No. 15 of 2017 Concerning Administration of Estates and Implementation of Wills of Non-Muslims in the Emirate of Dubai (the ‘Dubai Wills Law’)
  • DIFC Wills and Probate Registry Rules (the ‘DIFC WPR Rules’) are applicable.

Understanding Dubai’s Property Ownership Laws for Expatriates

If you are a non-Emirate or expatriate, you are allowed to purchase a property in Dubai if you meet all the requirements. The laws also allow expatriates to lease property in Dubai. 

The freedom to lease or own property in Dubai is according to Article 4 of the Dubai Law No. 7 of 2006 on Real Property Registration, which states that “the right to own Real Property in the Emirate shall be restricted to UAE nationals, nationals of Gulf Cooperation Council States, companies fully owned by these nations, and public joint stock corporations,” the freedom to lease or own property in Dubai is legal. 

Non-UAE nationals may be granted the following privileges, subject to the approval of the Ruler, in the appropriate regions designated by the Ruler:

  • No time restrictions on Freehold ownership of Real Property
  • up to ninety-nine (99) years usufruct or lease rights in Real Property 

According to the recently released law, full procedures for expropriation of property, estimating the value of compensation, and appealing against expropriation are outlined.

The decisions necessary to put this law into effect shall be issued by His Highness, the Ruler of Dubai, as Chairman of the Court of His Highness, the Ruler of Dubai.

Expropriation of private property for a public purpose is now prohibited under the new law, which repeals provisions of the 1964 Resolution signed on January 1, 1964. The law also nullifies any other legislation that might conflict with it. The newly promulgated legislation becomes effective on the date of its publication in the Official Gazette of Canada.

What the laws mean for the non-Muslim

In the United Arab Emirates, a non-Muslim individual can employ the personal law of their home country in personal concerns like marriage, succession, and the disposal of their inheritance. Article 1(2) of the UAE’s Personal Status Law states that “the provisions of this Law shall apply to citizens of the United Arab Emirates State, except where special provisions applied to their community or confession applies to non-Muslim citizens of the United Arab Emirates State.” They will apply equally to citizens and non-citizens unless one requests that his law be applied to them.”

A non-Muslim who owns property in Dubai may also bequeath the property to their heirs by registering a Will with the Dubai Courts or the DIFC Wills Service Centre.

Specifically, this complies with Article 6(a) of Dubai Wills Law, which states: “A record known as the ‘Register of Wills of Non-Muslims’ has been established at the Dubai Courts and the DIFC Courts to register Wills of non-Muslims.”

Dubai’s Property Ownership Laws on Beneficiaries

If you meet the requirements of Article 8 of the Dubai Wills Law, you may register a Will in which your children are named as beneficiaries with the Dubai Courts or DIFC Wills Service Center of the DIFC Court. This provision states that you must meet the following requirements before registering a Will on the Register:

  • For a will to be legitimate, the testator must be non-Muslim 
  • The Will must meet the standards outlined in this section.
  • The Will must name an Executor and specify how the willed property will be distributed in the presence of two (2) witnesses. 
  • The Will must be signed or fastened with the testator’s seal or fingerprint in the presence of two (2) witnesses.
  • There must have been no alteration to the wording of the Will, either by deleting or erasing any part of it or by adding or inserting new material.
  • All fees stipulated by the legislation in force in the Emirate must have been paid.”

The DIFC Court has created the DIFC WPR Rules in accordance with the Dubai Wills Law. “Estate” is defined as “the Immovable and Movable Property of a Deceased, including Property over which he exercised a general power of appointment by his Will, wherever situated,” according to Article 5(2) of the DIFC WPR Rules, which also defines ‘Estate Property’ as “any Property comprised in the Estate of a Deceased, wherever situated.” Because of this, the DIFC WPR Rules permit an individual to incorporate in their Will any estates that they own, whether or not the estates are located within or outside the UAE.

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