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UAE law recognises the purchase of off-plan properties through the Executive Council Resolution No (13) of 2008 and its amendments. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Buying off-plan property in Dubai

Question: I want to buy a property in Dubai from a realty developer. Do I legally have the right to buy a property while I am on a Visit Visa. Also, am I legally entitled to open a bank account while on a Visit Visa? What are the precautions that must be taken in order to ensure that the property is purchased legally?

Answer: You have the right to buy a property in Dubai, even if you area a visitor. Regarding bank account for nonresidents, a set of requirements and conditions for opening a bank account should be followed and these requirements and conditions vary from bank to bank.

UAE law recognises the purchase of off-plan properties through the Executive Council Resolution No (13) of 2008 and its amendments regarding the organisation of the initial real estate registry in the emirate of Dubai. This law imposes some restrictions on the developer as well as the purchaser.

Before buying a property in Dubai, the buyer must make sure that the project has an escrow account and all papers related to the property are correct and legal. We also advise the buyer to check the original title deed and understand its details. The buyer can also request from the seller or real estate developer for a no-objection certificate, confirming to the buyer that the seller or owner has paid all due fees.

The buyer may check with the Land Department about the status of the project and whether the seller has any existing mortgage against the same property because when the owner is selling a mortgaged property in Dubai, the transaction becomes slightly complicated. In this case, the owner must first settle the original mortgage on the property in full before applying for the title deed.

You must sign an agreement with the developer, stating the terms and conditions of the purchase and making sure there are no ambiguities between you and the seller over the selling price, mode of payment and any other consideration that is important to you.

Forcing employee to resign

Question: I have been working for a private company for five years. The employer is now telling me to take my end-of-service benefits for three years only with this excuse that the company is going through financial hardships. In return, he has asked me to sign a new work contract with terms, privileges and salary less than the previous contract. In the event of rejection, he has told me to resign from the job. Is the employer legally entitled to do this? Do I legally have the right to claim annual leave that is overdue for a period of three years?

Answer: The employer is neither entitled to deduct anything from your end-of-service benefits nor can he request you to agree on such a matter. Any agreement related to this matter shall be considered as void according to Article 65 of the new Labour Law, which states: ‘Each discharge, reconciliation or waiver of the rights arising for the worker hereunder shall be null and void if it violates its provisions.’

The employer is also not entitled to force you to sign a new work contract with terms, privileges and salary less than the previous contract, unless you agree to it. Also, he cannot force you to resign from your job. Article 14 of the above-mentioned law states: ‘The employer shall not use any means that would oblige or force the worker, threaten him or her with any penalty to work for it, or compel him or her to undertake work or provide a service against his or her will.’

The employer must enable the employee to do his or her job or else the employee will have the right to leave the job according to Article 26 of the new law (Wage is paid in exchange for work and the employer shall allow the worker to carry out his or her work. Otherwise, it shall obligatory to pay the wages as agreed upon. The Implementing Regulation defines the procedures for the worker to quit work if he or she is not allowed to perform the work agreed upon in the employment contract.). In this regard, if the worker wishes to quit his or her job, he or she shall notify the employer. In any case, the worker may file a labour complaint in accordance with the applicable Legal Regulations. The ministry may, upon submission of the complaint, communicate with the employer and grant him or her a grace period to enable the worker to perform his or her work. If the employer fails to respond, the ministry may cancel the worker’s work permit and allow him or her to move to another establishment without prejudice to his or her rights with the employer.

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Regarding Annual Leave, Article 29 of the new law states: ‘The worker shall be entitled to a wage for the accrued leave days if he or she quits work before using them up, regardless of the leave duration, with respect to the period for which he or she did not obtain leave. He or she shall also be entitled to receive leave wage for parts of the year in proportion to the period he or she spent at work and it shall be calculated according to the basic wage.’