Abu Dhabi: To curb fraudulent leasing and safeguard the rights of tenants and property owners, a recently announced regulation mandates that only corporate entities and individuals licensed in Abu Dhabi emirate can undertake property management in the capital.
The regulation was revealed recently by the Municipality of Abu Dhabi City, in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (DED), and has been applicable since last month (July). It requires companies licensed in other emirates to obtain commercial permits from the DED to manage Abu Dhabi properties. In addition, individual investors will not be allowed to lease units unless they have a certified business relationship with the property owner, or are the owner’s kin.
According to the municipality statement, the regulations will ensure that companies and individuals licensed to manage properties only handle those units which they own, and that companies without the appropriate permits are prevented from dealing in properties.
A grace period of one year from July has been granted for property owners and managers to comply with the new requirements.
Ali Khalid Al Hashemi, head of Tawtheeq tenancy contracts at the municipality, called on all businesses that are not adequately licensed to adhere to the new regulations and apply for the property management permits. He also urged that individual realtors who manage a company’s properties be licensed by means of a legal power of attorney endorsed by the Notary Public.
On the other hand, property owners that manage their own units must also authorise individuals who are related (property owner’s kin) or with whom they have a business relationship with a legal power of attorney endorsed by the Notary Public.
Curb illegal subleasing
“These new requirements aim to prevent the practice of illegal subleasing, which is common among unlicensed brokers in the emirate,” Al Hashemi said.
The new regulations in the emirate follow the launch of the Tawtheeq system in 2011, which requires all leasable units in the city to be registered with the municipality. In addition to protecting the rights of property owners and tenants, the system has also created a database of leasable properties in the city. The municipality statement added that the Tawtheeq procedures had also reduced the number of complaints arising from inauthentic tenancy contracts and agreements.
Residents in the capital who spoke to Gulf News appeared enthusiastic about the new regulations, saying that it would ease the process of ensuring that a realty agent or broker was genuine.
S.K., an Indian in the capital, said he had recently paid more than Dh20,000 to rent an apartment in the city, but had not heard back from the agent.
“Having a system that licenses such activities would help people like me verify if these agents are authorised to manage a property, especially as many of them simply put up online ads or claim to handle units in other emirates. It would also help me avoid the time and effort I am now investing to have the courts look into this agent,” he added.
Another 29-year-old engineer in the capital, M. M., said he had also had trouble renting an apartment in Khalifa City A.
“Eventually, although I moved into the unit, all the fixtures were of low quality, and even the main door came off the hinges a month later. So if the new system ensures that only those companies and individuals that offer quality property management services are licensed, this would make things even easier,” he said.