Dubai Property Investors Group

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UAE: Real estate set to get more transparent

27 March 2009
Dubai - The interest groups in Dubai's real estate -- with the announcement of a system of committees on Thursday--are looking at a climate that promises better coordination and greater transparency.

Marwan bin Ghalita, CEO of Real Estate Regulatory Authority (Rera),said that the committee system would enable officials to more readily hear feedback from various interest groups in the real estate market.

Registration to sit on the committees can be done through Rera's website and the first meetings will take place next month. Bin Ghalita told reporters that membership to these committees would be granted only after certain criteria were met.

Part of an effort to create a real estate community in Dubai, the system will allow property investors to air their grievances and be heard with urgency. Developers, brokers and evaluators will also sit in separate committees.

"This will provide a way in which we can communicate with professionals and improve transparency in the market," Bin Ghalita said. "In addition, we will pass the feedback we receive from the committees to the government every month."

The announcement in Dubai follows last week's top-level proposal on the creation of a federal body to regulate the real estate market. However, Bin Ghalita was unable to say at this point if feedback from the Dubai committees would inform federal policy.

The committee system is local in inspiration. It follows a petition from the 600-member-strong Dubai Property Investors Group (DPIG). Included in the eight-page petition, was a recommendation to create an 'investors advisory panel'. The system requires brokers and evaluators to hold relevant qualifications. Investors would have to have their properties registered with the Land Department. Co-founder of the DPIG, Nigel Knight, said that many off-plan investors had not
registered their properties for fear that their contracts could be cancelled.

"Under the law, contracts can be cancelled only if they are registered on the off-plan interim register," he said. "Many investors are concerned that after they have paid one per cent of the value of the property to register, the developer can just cancel their contract."

Several lawyers have reported a huge increase in the number of disputes between developers and investors in the latter part of last year, after the financial crisis caused a number of projects to stall.

In some cases, developers who gained 100 per cent of the project financing from banks have fled the country. At other times, developers have been relying on investors' money to pay for construction and investors are now refusing to pay until more progress is seen.

Last month, Rera announced that it was creating a special mediation department to limit the number of cases going through Dubai Property Court. Since then, the mediation department has resolved 95 cases, said Sultan Butti bin Mijrin, Director-General of the Land Department on Thursday.

"We will probably see that number rising," he said, adding that the mediation department was only due to open its doors formally from next week.


Some of us didn't register because RERA says we need an NOC letter from the developer to register , yet the developer is refusing to provide such letter . I.E. we cant register with the reservation form , and the developer is not giving us the right to register either , which raises lots of question marks about the motives of such developer. So why such developers are left without punishment .


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As I see it, it's the developers responsibility to register, not yours. As per Article (3) of Law 13:

1. The Interim Real Estate Register is used to record all disposals of Real Estate
Units off plan. Any sale or other disposition that transfers or restricts title or
any ancillary rights shall be void if not recorded on that Register.

2. Any developer who made a sale or other disposition that transferred or
restricted title prior to the coming into force of this Law should approach the
Department to get it registered in the Real Estate Register or the Interim Real
Estate Register, as applicable, within 60 days after the date on which this Law
came into force.
So, if they in fact haven't registered your "sale or other disposition that transfers or restricts title or any ancillary rights" the reservation "shall be void" = no agreement, they have no right to keep your money since they failed on their part since they apparently have failed to register "within 60 days after the date on which this Law came into force". I believe this is the exact case that's been mentioned before with an investor that is supposed to have a full refund + 9% interest.


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Dubai acts to mediate property disputes - The National Newspaper

Dubai has created professional groups and a mediation centre to resolve the hundreds of disputes that have arisen among investors and developers as the property sector soured in the global economic downturn.

The initiative, an effort by the Dubai Land Department and the Dubai Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera),is designed to integrate the main participants in the property industry into a regulatory framework headed by Rera.

A mediation centre was established to help resolve disputes faster, away from Property Court. Currently, more than 500 cases are said to be pending with the court.

“We need to have more communication between the main players in the market,” said Sultan Butti bin Mijrin, the director general of the Land Department. “Now is the time to form professional groups, not for today but for the future of the market. These groups will continue to build up and Rera will give them its umbrella and ensure transparency. An arbitration centre is better than going to court.”

“We need people to sit down “We need people to sit down together, speak and reach an agreement. And if they manage to, they won’t need to go through the whole process of going to court. It is quicker and free of charge.”

The centre has already resolved 95 cases over the past month, he said. “It has been very efficient before it was even officially established.”

The idea was welcomed by some as progress for the industry. “The establishment of a focused stakeholder community of consultation groups can only be good for future development of regulation and the broader property industry,” said David Nunn, a partner at the legal firm Simmons and Simmons. “However, it appears that lawyers and banks, for example, are excluded from the process, which is disappointing, given their key perspective and experience.”

As early as next month, property investors, developers, brokers and evaluators will each form groups within Rera. These professional committees will meet regularly with Rera to review and develop a regulatory strategy and create plans to manage conflicts that come up in the property sector.

Recently, several groups of investors have been filing petitions to developers regarding cancelled projects or other issues. Last week, a hundred investors delivered a petition to Nakheel’s Dubai sales centre, urging the developer to reschedule payment plans for villas on Palm Jebel Ali because of delays.

Emaar said this month that it was considering cancelling or postponing three projects after a petition from the Emaar Investor Group.

“We welcome the Land Department’s initiative greatly and would like to be part of it,” said Nigel Knight, a co-founding member of the Dubai Property Investors Group. “Last time we met Rera we had suggested to create an investors’ advisory panel. Following that, we were asked to give proposals, which we did.”

His group is Dubai’s largest investors’ coalition with more than 600 members and investments in projects worth Dh3.2 billion. In January, they gave Rera a petition that demanded, among other things, the cancellation of projects that are not being built.

The investors have put about Dh600 million into those projects so far, but are reluctant to keep paying until they have assurances that the developers will be able to finish the projects, Mr Knight said.

Individuals and homeowners’ associations can be part of the new investors’ community within Rera.

Investors’ groups, which were not part of a regulatory process, will be part of this new process. “Everybody was sending their own messages,” said Marwan bin Ghalita, the chief executive of Rera. “This is not good. Now, they will discuss together and we will send their recommendations to the government.”

Yesterday’s announcement is the latest in a series of steps taken by the Government to increase confidence in the market. In February, RERA announced that the agency next week would begin publishing monthly progress reports on each of the 695 projects with escrow accounts. The reports of progress made on the developments will be published online and also contain photographs of construction progress.
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