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Revisit visas, but not for real estate’s sake

Revisit visas, but not for real estate’s sake

As calls are made to adjust visa rules for property investors, Kipp asks if the real estate industry is really in as bad shape as we’re told.

November 21, 2010 3:50 by

According to a decree issued by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, “non-citizens , including non-GCC citizens, have the right to use property (rent or live in it) or alternatively possess right to rent for a period not exceeding 99 years.”

The decree received much attention this week after the Dubai Court rejected a case on the sharing of a lease on the basis that the disputing parties were not UAE citizens or GCC nationals. The story goes that, in 2002, long before the decree was issued by Sheikh Mohammed in 2006, the plaintiff and his partner had purchased a villa in Mirdiff together and signed a contract agreeing to the management of the villa. The details are rather unclear, but from what we make out, when the plaintiff attempted to sue his partner, the Court of Cassation rejected the case because the two were not UAE citizens or GCC nationals.

Kipp has already reported on the UAE’s uneven track record with visa rules, arbitrarily changing them and so moving the goal posts for people already here and invested. In essence, cases like this one in Emirates 24-7 only add fuel to the fire.

The findings of these cases and the accompanying publicity only discourage expat investors from purchasing property in the UAE, which costs the country in the long term. It sends the message that while you may be able to “purchase” property in Dubai, you will never be able to own it nor are you likely to have any rights in the court of law because of your expat-status. And the two unlucky investors with their villa in Mirdiff have found that the rules even apply if you bought the property in question before the decree was issued.

Kipp will openly admit, it isn’t good for the real estate business.

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1 Comment

  1. Suresh on November 22, 2010 4:08 pm

    There is an indisputable fact that there are a lot of things that have gone on ( and are still going on ? ) in the property sector in Dubai that are not fair, honest or investor friendly. A decree was passed some tie ago insisting that the contributions made by investors must be kept in “Escrow” accounts by developers. This gave to a false sense of security to many of us who now find that apparently behind the scenes , big name builders were allowed to use this funds to develop the infrastructure etc. , thus in fact jeopardizing the safety of these funds. This is something that the authorities will need to face up to one day .

    We have invested in a project where the company has apparently not even done a single days work on the site , but their sales manager told me recently that they have already spent 60% of the money they have collected from investors. On what ?

    As per the contract if the project delivery is more than 6 months late then we can get our FULL money back. That date is come and gone and there is no one to listen to our complaint.

    Dubai government has to face this music too , at some point and give justice to the hard working and honest investors who are being left in the lurch now.

    As far as the issue of Visas is concerned , the current rules are not fair. A lot of property was sold specifically because of the “promise” of residence visas for investors. To go back on their word and give expensive and difficult to renew visas may be expedient today but is is neither fair nor honorable.


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