Real estate ownership certificate in the UAE

Whether you are an experienced property investor or this is your first purchase, you may have some questions. How can you register your property in the UAE according to the local legislation? How are the property transaction details added into the UAE real estate register? What is the procedure for registering real estate in the UAE? Can you check your property on the UAE real estate registry? Here you can find detailed answers to the most popular questions.

Property registration law in the UAE

Let’s look at the property registration legislation of the United Arab Emirates.

UAE residents have the right to own villas, apartments and commercial premises in any area of the country, while a foreigner can become the owner of a property/properties but only in certain designated zones. They are called freehold areas. To buy a property within a freehold area, a foreigner must obtain a permit. For example, it can be issued in the Executive Council of the city in Abu Dhabi.

Dubai was the first city in the UAE that introduced freehold areas, meaning that foreigners can buy a property and do what they want with it. For example, resell it, gift it, rent it out, inherit it, and so on. These areas are located in the following neighbourhoods:

  • Palm Islands;
  • Dubai Marina;
  • Greens;
  • Peace Archipelago;
  • Jumeirah Beach Residence and many others.

Freehold areas can also be found in Ajman, Abu Dhabi and some other emirates. Foreign buyers can also consider leasehold properties, which means that they lease their property for 99 years.

The Dubai Land Department maintains a temporary register where it catalogues all transactions for off-plan projects, and all developers are obliged to register such buildings. When the building is completed, it must be registered by the same Land Department in the real estate registry.

According to the seventh article of Law No. 15 of 2008, if you lease a property in Dubai, you need to provide the details of your lease contract to the Real Estate Registry Office.

When mortgaging a property, you should also keep in mind that you need to register the mortgage agreement in the Dubai Land Department according to the seventh article of Law No. 14 of 2008.

After you sign the property purchase contract, you must register it in the Dubai Real Estate Registry Authority, otherwise the contract will be considered invalid.

Real estate registration procedure in the UAE

Each emirate has its own procedure. For example, in Dubai, in order to register the transfer of ownership, the parties to the transaction meet at the City Land Department. Another option is to use a trustee who can visit the Land Department in place of the buyer and seller and register the property transaction in the UAE.

The parties submit and sign the required papers during the meeting at the City Land Department, before entering the property transaction information into the register.

How is the information entered in the UAE Real Estate Register

Property registration in each emirate has its own rules that regulate the procedure for the transfer of ownership. In Dubai, the buyer and the seller must meet in the Land Department or with a real estate registration agent to register the property transaction. This meeting includes several steps:

  • You are issued a certificate proving that the developer approves the property transaction.
  • Signing a sales contract.
  • Passports and visas of the buyer and the seller, if they are individuals, or documents of legal entities.
  • Buyer and seller sign the Dubai Land Department forms to transfer the title.
  • The buyer pays for the property.
  • Payments are also made to the Land Department and to the trustee, if present at the registration.
  • The buyer receives a title deed for the property from the Dubai Land Department.

It is important to remember that you cannot register the property transaction in Dubai online.

The real estate register includes the details about all transactions that entitle, transfer, change or cancel property rights as well as the description of the property that is being sold and its address.

Can I check the property I am buying on the UAE real estate registry?

Unfortunately, you cannot check the property you are buying on the real estate register in Dubai on your own. Only the following persons have access to this information:

  • property owners;
  • judicial officials.

They can request copies of the registered documents. All issued documents must be certified by the seals and signatures of authorized persons.

The information from the registers is usually needed for:

  • ownership confirmation;
  • getting information about the property;
  • debt collection;
  • for real estate market research, for example, analysis of the value of residential and commercial properties.

State guarantee of real estate ownership in the UAE

The State does not provide such guarantees. If necessary, on the basis of fraud or forgery, you can challenge the information entered in the register. According to article 7 of Law No. 7 of 2006, the accuracy of the information provided by the register can be disputed on the basis of identified forgery or fraud. If successful, the Dubai Land Department will correct any inaccuracies.

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