Dubai has been far away the most talked about property market over the last 12 months and still continues to attract significant attention from both domestic and overseas investors. There have been substantial regulation and law changes in the area although there appears to be some confusion with regards to such issues as escrow, cancellations and delayed payment. There is an excellent post on the Propertycommunity.com forum entitled “Escrow related information” whereby answers are given to online questions which many people are asking.
The post is now over 20 pages long and covers some of the more popular questions in great detail as well as some issues which may or may not arise in the future. For anyone who has invested in the Dubai property market or is looking to do so in the short to medium term this is the perfect place to increase your knowledge base and ensure that your investments are protected as much as possible.
The Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA)
Many of the questions on the thread relate to the RERA and the vast array of new regulations and laws which have been introduced to the Dubai property market over the last few months. While many of these changes are “bedding down” the changeover period has left many investors in a “vacuum” type situation where they are unsure if their investments are covered by the old regulations or the more recent changes.
The responses on this thread come straight from the RERA whether this is via the website or contacts within the agency. This ensures that the best advice is given at all times, and while investors need to do their own homework before taking action, there is knowledge and advice on this thread in abundance. The RERA was initially seen as erring on the side of property developers in the region but recently it has been given “teeth” and the introduction of Law 13 has given investors a much greater level of security with the RERA now ready to tackle both the registration of developers and projects as well as ongoing problems between developers and investors.
Common Dubai escrow related questions
At the time of writing this article the thread has extended beyond 20 pages and is sure to go further as interest grows and the questions become more detailed. While we strongly suggest that you visit the thread we hereby set out a number of the more common questions and the answers given:-
Question: Purely as a gauge of real estate activity in Dubai, how are you finding it at the moment compared to this time last year regards escrow accounts?
Answer: While there are many people enquiries about the level of activity in escrow accounts it is difficult to extract any meaningful trends as escrow was pretty much non-existent last year.
Note: We should be able to extract more meaningful trends from the Dubai property market when there is more of a history for the escrow system.
Question: If I signed up for an investment before the introduction of escrow how can I protect my payments of the past and for the future?
Answer: All developers should now have signed up with the RERA, and those not yet on the website are being chased by the RERA, so in theory all developers should have escrow accounts now. You can request that any payments made in the past are transferred to the company’s escrow account although you will need to request this directly with the developer first.
Note: Any developer who does not have an escrow account and is taking payments is now breaking the law. If you have any issues with escrow accounts you should contact the RERA who will investigate on your behalf.
Question: Are off-plan developments covered by the RERA?
Answer: All developments in Dubai are covered by the RERA and while on-plan developments are currently listed on the site the RERA is currently working through a list of off-plan developments which will also be listed in due course.
Note: There has been a significant change in the philosophy and the workings of the RERA and eventually it will be an all-encompassing central point for the Dubai property market where developers, investors and regulators can communicate to try and reduce misunderstandings and problems.
Question: My property developer is not listed on the RERA website, should I be concerned?
Answer: There is currently a substantial backlog of companies yet to be registered on the RERA website. However, if the RERA is unable to confirm that registration is in process they need to give you a valid reason. Once you are aware of the reason you can then take further action directly with the property developer or via the RERA.
Note: Property developers who are not listed on the completed RERA website will not be able to carry out property transactions in the region.
Question: The small print in my investment contract seems to be at odds with Law 13 which affords more rights to the investor, am I still covered?
Answer: Law 13 supersedes all contract clauses and contract conditions which are at odds with the protection now afforded to investors.
Note: Even where the small print on your contract may indicate a loss of protection afforded by Law 13 this is not the case and advice should be taken if you are forced to take any action which goes against the terms and spirit of the Law.
For those looking at the Dubai property market it is essential that you make yourself aware of the RERA, the new regulations and in particular Law 13 which offers significant protection to investors and property developers alike. The various questions on the thread are queries which many people will be asking themselves although they possibly do not know where to find the answers.
The quality of the responses is second to none and this thread is sure to go on and on as more and more people become wary of the Dubai property market and the protection afforded to investors. Whether you are a first-time investor in Dubai or an experienced investor in the region this is an excellent opportunity to catch up on the latest happenings with regards to the RERA, escrow and the Dubai property market in general as well as offering an excellent forum on which to post your own questions.