The Dubai Land Department (DLD) has told property brokers to
ensure that any landlords who approach them with properties
available for sale or rent actually own them.
The department's real estate licensing arm said in a
circular that it now requires all of its registered brokers to
"verify real estate ownership data" before selling or
renting a property, and that verification can be carried out
through its own Smart Broker app through which owners submit
The new system will help to combat real estate fraud, which has
been a common problem in the UAE and one which Hassan Elhais, a
senior partner with law firm Al Rowwad Advocates and Legal
Consultants, told The National in June was on the rise. Potential
tenants and owners have handed over sizeable cheques either to
supposed owners or representatives to move into properties only to
find that they are owned by someone else.
Ali Abdullah Al Ali, a director of DLD's Real Estate
Licensing Department, said that there "have been issues of
tenants paying supposed landlords and brokers, as in the past the
procedures were difficult to check the property ownership
However, he said the new app service has been introduced to
"provide more transparency and protect the rights of all
parties in the real estate market".
Brokers who fail to verify ownership data will face legal
proceedings and fines for non-adherence, he added.
"Real estate brokers play an important role in supporting
DLD's vision through the promotion of real estate transaction
movements in the emirate. Therefore, we appreciate their work in
facilitating secure transactions."
Andrew Love, the head of investment and commercial agency at
brokers Cavendish Maxwell, said: "Brokers have always been
required to obtain the title deed prior to listing or selling any
property, but verifying its accuracy or legitimacy has historically
been a little trickier.
"However, the creation of the new Dubai brokers app makes
it very easy now."
He said that this additional requirement being placed on brokers
offered "another level of protection for buyers".
Jason Hayes, the managing director of luxury property brokerage
Luxhabitat, said: "Owner verification has been a cornerstone
of our standard operating procedure for some time, but regrettably
we recognise our own standards are not reflected across the city.
Today's announcement serves to address that disparity and we
welcome that news."
Mr. Love added that most professional real estate firms will
carry their own professional indemnity insurance and that buyers
should check the validity of this as they can potentially claim
against this in the event of broker negligence.
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