Dubai property regulator warns industry

RERA CEO Marwan bin Ghalita says developers must register with regulator or face fines.

NEWS, Business

The recently formed Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA) has said that all construction, development and real estate companies will have to register themselves with the newly formed body by 28 December 2007 or prepare to face fines.

Speaking to Construction Week, Marwan bin Ghalita, CEO, RERA, said: "So far, companies have been quite responsive and things are going well, so I think by the end of the year everybody will be compliant. But the last date by when all relevant parties must be registered with us is 28 December 2007. And, if not, they must be prepared to face fines as per our laws."

A meeting held last month between RERA and Dubai Property Group, Dubai's professional real estate association, revealed a lot of doubt and uncertainty about RERA's plans for the industry. A lot of confusion surrounded the "special arrangements" that RERA said it would make with developers who already had ongoing projects, and whether offshore developers could buy and develop land under their own names.

"These special arrangements are to protect the interests of both parties - developers and investors alike. If a developer is already 60-70% into its construction process we have to honour that contract, but all development onwards will be monitored closely by us. But for all developers who are starting from scratch, they have to follow the Escrow account rules; there is no exception," said Ghalita.

"Also, foreign or offshore developers can buy and own land in freehold designated areas under their own personal names or offshore company names and do not need to go through a GCC or Emirati national," he added.

HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE vice president, prime minister and ruler of Dubai, launched RERA on 31 July 2007 as a service agency under the Dubai Land Department with its own financial and administrative independence, to regulate Dubai's real estate sector.

"I am aware of the uncertainty about RERA in the industry and my message is that we are here to help the sector grow more and in a professional manner," added Ghalita.

"We are here for all parties equally in order to safe guard everybody's interest."

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