Friday, March 17, 2006

Dubai Property Laws

Most ex-pats had heard that only Citizens were allowed to own property in the UAE. As it turned out, we were wrong, until March 13. The Gulf News on March 14th announced that, on 13 March, the Dubai government had passed a law allowing all UAE Citzens to buy and sell all property in Dubai.

Before, all property in Dubai belonged to Dubai. From time to time, the ruling family would give a citizen a modest villa of, say, US$10,000,000, and there the poor citizen would be obliged to live. People seeing his $10,000,000 home assumed he was rich. Only his house belonged to Dubai. He couldn't sell it, lease it out, borrow against it, or do anything else except live in it, like an English entail, only more restrictive. He looked rich, but hadn't a dirham to his name.

But all that changed on 13 March: now, all Dubai property may be freely bought and sold by all Citizens of the UAE. Meaning, sold by the current Dubai residents to Citizens from the other small, impoverished Emirates (and also to Citizens of the wealthy Emirate of Abu Dhabi, whose citizens live in luxurious villas that belong to Abu Dhabi, and who want to spend some of their money to buy a villa of their own).

As a side-note, some property will be made available for ex-pats, but that will be announced later. For now, as most ex-pats had erroneously believed before 13 March 2006, only Citizens of the UAE may freely buy and sell Dubai properties.

The Dubai government has promised that ex-pats will be able to legally buy and sell land in certain areas, to be named later. Everyone assumes those areas will include the Palm 'Islands' (visible from space), the Meadows, Springs, Arabian Ranches, and Dubai Marina, and a few others. But, for now, only Citizens of the UAE may legally buy and sell Dubai property.

Meanwhile, ex-pats continue to buy and sell (without any legal foundation) properties that may, eventually, be made available for ex-pats to buy and sell. At prices that exceed €400,000 for a small, three-bedroom villa. In the middle of the desert. That leaks when (once a year) it rains. And the ex-pats are hoping that €400,000 villa will soon be worth €800,000 or more. For reasons that escape me.


Blogger aisha said...

Yeah, it is a really good news that anyone can buy freehold property in UAE,especially in Dubai.
I am glad, really glad that UAE is doing its best in order to attract tourists, businessmen to invest in Dubai property. UAE has a big potential.

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