The UAE has approved a draft law governing homeowner associations, including those located within free zones. A list of penalties for offences committed under the guise of being an OA board member is also part of the draft. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: The UAE Federal National Council has approved a draft law on Homeowners Association, to help regulate the management and maintenance of property. The law shall apply to every building developed by federal authorities in any area of the country, including free zones, and those properties developed by other parties after approval of the concerned emirate.

According to the draft law, the following are common areas - the land for the building, the building's structure, foundation, pillars, columns and walls. Common ownership will also apply to the walls between units, service rooms, places designated for waste and ventilation skylights, kitchens, entrances, facades, stairs, corridors, basements, elevators, emergency exits, and other types of installations.

The Ministry of Infrastructure Development and the competent authority may issue decisions to add any other common parts. Under the law, penalties stipulated in this law do not prejudice any other severe punishment stated in any other law.

Penalties are stiff

These include imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year and a fine not less than Dh500,000, but not exceeding Dh1 million, for the following offences: Dealing with others in the name of the owners’ association before registering it at the ministry or competent authority, and assuming the capacity of a chairman or director of an owners’ association.

Also punishable by imprisonment for a period of at least a year and a fine not less than Dh100,000 for submitting budgets or invalid contracts without the knowledge of OA board. 

A penalty of imprisonment for a period of at least a year and a fine of not less than Dh500,000, but not more than Dh2 million, shall be inflicted on whoever embezzles or squanders money from the association’s funds, or facilitates others seizing it.