Majdel Musa is Head of Real Estate at DKN Law and a faculty member at the Dubai Real Estate Institute

When signing a lease for a flat, the broker requested that I write the rent cheques to his estate agency. Is this allowed?

As per Rera regulations, only property management companies with the license for “Leasing and Management of Other People’s Property” are permitted to sublease or take cheques in the name of the company. All other real estate agencies and “Supervision Services” management companies must have rent cheque(s) issued in the owner’s name. If a company requests a rent cheque in its own name, be sure to request a copy of the company’s trade license, or confirm its permitted activity on the Department of Economic Development (DED) or Dubai Land Department website.

What is the difference between Dubai Land Department and Rera?

Dubai Land Department (DLD) is the main government entity responsible for the registration, organization and promotion of real estate in Dubai. Rera is DLD’s regulatory arm, which creates and enforces real estate regulations. Rental Disputes Center, which is often incorrectly labeled as “Rera”, resolves landlord-tenant issues and is DLD’s judicial arm.

My wife and I are purchasing a property with a mortgage. We have been pre-approved, but are worried about losing our deposit if we do not get final approval for the loan. How can we protect ourselves?

Be sure to include a “mortgage contingency clause” in the real estate purchase contract. It should state that the purchase is subject to obtaining the loan, and if you are unable to do so, the contract will become void and the deposit will be refunded to you.

Can a property be purchased in the name of a minor child?

The minimum age for purchasing a property is 21 years old, though a minor child may be represented by parents or a legal guardian in a purchase transaction. However, to sell a property owned by a minor, a court order must first be obtained.

I want to be sure that I’m working with Rera-licensed brokers. How can I confirm this?

A: The easiest way to confirm if a broker is licensed is to ask for the Rera ID. Additionally, both brokers and real estate companies can be verified on the Dubai Land Department website at www.dubailand.gov.ae, under “Search for Approved Brokers”. The “Dubai Brokers” app is also available for download on mobile devices.

I invested in an off-plan project in 2008. I’ve been informed by Rera that it has been cancelled and is now with Dubai Courts. What does this mean?

After Rera cancels a project, it is forwarded to the Real Estate Cancelled Projects Committee at Dubai Courts. This committee oversees the liquidation of Rera-cancelled projects and hears investor claims. Its decisions are final, binding and not appealable. You may contact the committee directly to get information on the cancelled project at RCP@dc.gov.ae. You may also want to consult with a law firm regarding your rights.

I am selling my property, as we are moving back to our home country. Can I give my broker a power of attorney to sell it on my behalf?

As per Dubai Land Department/RERA regulations, neither real estate brokers, nor any employee of a real estate company may act as a legal representative under a power of attorney (POA). If you do not have a trusted relative or friend in Dubai, you can hire a law firm, conveyancing company or POA service provider to act as your legal representative.

What is the difference between freehold and free zone?

Freehold is a type of ownership. Freehold title entails ownership of the both the land and the building on it, for an indefinite period of time. An owner of freehold property can sell, lease or devise (put in will) it to heirs. A free zone, on the other hand, is a special economic zone that allows for 100% foreign ownership and zero taxation for companies registered within that zone.

I recently decided to list my property for sale with a real estate broker. He insisted that I sign a marketing form with his company and give him a copy of my title deed. Is this required?

The property marketing form (Form A) between the seller and broker has been required by RERA for several years. In addition, a recent RERA regulation requires that all real estate companies must obtain an advertising permit for every property ad. To acquire the permit, the broker must provide RERA with a copy of Form A signed by the seller, as well as the title deed. Therefore, you must provide your broker with these documents to market your property.

I was paying my annual rent in two cheques, but my landlord sent a notice requesting one cheque payment for next year. Is this permissible?

A: To amend any terms in the lease, the party requesting the change must give notice at least 90 days prior to the expiration of the lease. If less than 90 days’ notice was given, the lease will renew on the same terms as the previous year. If the other party does not agree to the proposed terms, a claim must be filed in the Rental Disputes Center for the committee of judges to determine the outcome.

This column is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be considered legal advice. 
If you have any questions related to property, please email them to enag@gulfnews.com