Legal developments set to boost overseas property ownership in Gulf region

The ruler of Dubai has announced a ceiling for rents in 2010 in a bid to stabilise the emirate’s beleaguered property market.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has issued a decree setting the maximum allowed increase in property rents based on the most recent Real Estate Regulatory Authority’s (RERA) price index.

It prevents any increase in rent values as long as the property concerned is less than 25% below the RERA rent guide. The maximum permitted will be 5% if the rent value is 26 to 35%  less than the RERA rent guide; 10% if the rent value is 36 to 45% less; 15% if the rent value is 46 to 55%; and 20% if the rent value is 55% less than the RERA rent guide.

A spokesman for Sheikh Mohammed said he had a ‘keen interest in ensuring the stability of Dubai’s property market as well as creating legislations that guarantee promoting landlord-tenant relationships’ and he wants to make sure there are ‘clearly defined legal references and standards that guarantees the rights of tenants and landlords alike.’

Meanwhile international real estate investors who have been put off investing in Dubai because of its property slump could soon be able to buy in nearby Kuwait. Lawmakers have submitted a draft law to amend the real estate ownership law to open the door for expatriates to own apartments in Kuwait, which is currently restricted to Arabs with special permits.

The bill calls for all expatriates, regardless of nationality, to be able to own one apartment of an area not exceeding 350 square metres.

MPs said that with the development of economic activities in the country and plans to transform Kuwait into a financial and trade hub, it has become necessary to amend legislation that govern real estate ownership in such a way to allow all expatriates to own their own flats. The amendment will only apply to those whose own countries allow Kuwaiti nationals to own properties.


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