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Question

Around four years ago, I purchased a four-unit residential apartment from a developer in Ajman. The project is based in Ajman. I signed a purchase agreement and made a down payment to the developer. It has now been more than four years, but the project has not commenced. When I contacted the Real Estate Land Department in Ajman, I found that the developer is not registered with the Real Estate Regulatory Agency and there is no escrow account for the project. I was also told that the project is not yet under the developer’s name as it has a bank mortgage. I approached the developer’s office and tried to settle the matter amicably, but the developer is not willing to give my money back immediately. He offered to return my money in instalments paid in post-dated cheques over two years. I rejected his offer. What do I have to do to get my money as per Ajman’s real estate law?

Answer

First, the questioner shall file a complaint of fraud and breach of trust against the developer since the developer is not registered in line with the Decrees of Properties, which oblige a developer to register with the Real Estate Regulatory Agency as well as open an escrow account. He is also supposed to deposit the money received from buyers into the escrow account of the project rather than in his own account. Secondly, the questioner may file a real estate case before the court concerned and request the court to terminate the contract and refund his money in full. He can also seek proper compensation for damages incurred.

All questions answered by Mohammad Ebrahim Al Shaiba of Al Shaiba Advocates and Legal Consultants.