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Dubai Land Department tightens up the listings - and the outcome will naturally be more transparency for buyers and sellers. Image Credit: Dubai Media office

Starting October, the Dubai Land Department (DLD) allows sellers to list their properties with a maximum of three brokers. The move aims to bring more transparency by significantly cutting down on duplicate listings (multiple agents advertising a single property), enabling more professional brokers and agencies to rise to the top. And an overall streamlining the process of buying and selling of properties to the benefit of the buyer, seller, as well as the broker.

These changes aren’t just limited to selling a property but pertain to post-sale practices. After selling a property, the broker and seller must immediately remove all related ads and other promotional material. This means sold properties can no longer be listed online. Moreover, a broker cannot utilize an expired permit to market and sell any other property within the city.

New laws serve the purpose

The directive intends to better regulate what consumers see on the market. The idea is to bring a more systematic approach in the procedures. Buyers and sellers alike stand to benefit from this change because they would no longer see multiple agents constantly ringing and chasing them. Besides, no broker would now be able to list any piece of real estate without a digitally approved Form A (from the seller).

As the new laws come into effect, the market is expected to have stiff competition with agencies vying for the listings. The number of listings on every property portal would also be affected. Ultimately, this is what the Dubai Land Department (DLD) hopes to achieve.

  • More accurate property information;
  • Removal of fake and/or misleading real estate listings; and
  • No advertising of secondary market properties through permits meant exclusively for offplan developers.

Penalties for non-compliance

The rules apply primarily to the resale of existing properties. However, offplan sales could be included in the near future. Furthermore, there will be significant penalties for violators. Already, permits are compulsory for the marketing and advertising of properties on portals and other medium. With the latest regulatory updates, transparency will be further enhanced.


Firstly, brokers would have to ace their game to become worthy of earning a listing. In addition, sellers must now digitally approve Form-A to have their properties listed. This is a step towards legitimate pricing and genuine availability.

Lastly, there would be a drop in the availability of real estate units because the same properties that used to be listed by dozens of brokers would now only be available with three dealers at most. As a result, buyers can be more assured about the genuineness of a facility listed for sale.

Implications for agents

With these changes, only professional real estate brokerage firms and area specialists are expected to pick up a greater share of available listings. To that end, the importance of high-quality photos, well-written marketing descriptions, comprehensive walk-through videos, prompt service, and in-depth understanding of the facilities (together with their layout) would increase considerably.

The brokers would need to come up with creative advertising approaches. For instance, property signages, vibrant social media presence, and open houses would be important to market these properties.

On the buyers’ side, this move will dramatically improve the search experience for buyers and reward the agencies that thrive on reputation, merit, and their ability to bring results. A digitally signed Form-A would provide brokers legitimate sellers rather than sellers who are simply testing the market.

With Form-A in place, it would become easier to draw up Form-F, which is a purchase agreement between a property seller and buyer. As a result, buyers and sellers would be able to work more confidently with their brokers.

A typical listing would be valid for about three months, unless otherwise specified. In case a seller is unhappy with the service provided by one (or more) of the three brokers, they would have to terminate their contract(s) with the said agent(s) before striking a deal with a new agency. Over time, a new trend might emerge whereby the sellers start listing exclusively with a particular broker/agency.

The new laws would help bring the industry in line with how the property market works in places like the US and Canada and attract greater international investment into Dubai’s real estate.