The UAE now has a unified property law - something which we can report here but not delve into too deeply because we are not property lawyers. However, we are informed that draft legislation is well under way that aims to protect the UAE by restricting expatriates from automatically acquiring residency visas through freehold property ownership, according to a Federal National Council (FNC) member. The council will shortly submit a draft law on freehold property to the government which will unify the divergent laws relating to the sector in the seven emirates. Recently the Government of Dubai has opened up doors for purchase of freehold properties in approved projects in Dubai. The registered purchasers will be entitled to a Residence visa for the full family to be issued by the Dubai Authorities under their standard conditions. All good news for the foreign property purchaser.
Foreign buyers, residents and investors alike can now own a property on a 99 year lease, or in certain areas on a freehold basis, but we must briefly define what owning a Dubai property freehold means:- To own a property freehold means that the property is placed in the buyer's name for life subject to all payments having been made correctly. Buyers also have the right to be involved in third party dealing in that they can rent, lease or sell to a third party. Under law the freeholder is considered to be the absolute owner of all the property, land and buildings included in the title, which in turn means that the buyer has the legal right to occupy, use and enjoy it in perpetuity until death when the heirs are entitled to inherit the title.
The Freehold Property Guide issued by the Dubai Land Department removed the uncertainty over buying and registering property in Dubai. The additions made to the property law this year points out specific areas where the non-UAE residents can buy freehold properties.