Both resident and non-resident foreigners can buy properties in the designated freehold areas of Dubai. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Question: I am currently in Dubai on a visit visa. Do I have the right to buy a property here? How do I ensure that the property will be transferred to me after completion?

Answer: You have the right to buy a property in Dubai even if you are a visitor. Both resident and non-resident foreigners can buy properties in the designated freehold areas of Dubai. Article 3 of Regulation No 3 of 2006 Determining Areas for Ownership by Non-Nationals of Real Property in the Emirate of Dubai specifies land plots designated as freehold properties. The title deeds are issued by the Land Department in Dubai.

It is important to differentiate between buying a property off-plan or a completed one. The completed properties are more secured than the off-plan ones regarding completion dates and developers. An off-plan property can be transferred directly to the purchaser upon payment of the price and the documents can be signed and Land Department can be approached for registering the purchase.

The law organises the purchase of off-plan properties through Executive Council Resolution No (13) of 2008 regarding the organisation of the initial real estate registry in Dubai. This law imposes some restrictions on the developers in order to preserve the purchaser’s rights. However, despite this provision, some problems may raise regarding completion and construction issues.

Before buying a property in Dubai, the buyer must make sure that the project has an escrow account and all the papers related to the property are correct and legal. We also advise that the original title deed should be physically seen and verified and all the details mentioned in it should be clearly understood. The buyer can also request the seller or real estate developer to provide a no-objection certificate (NOC) that confirms to the buyer that the seller or owner has paid all due fees. The buyer can also run a check with the Land Department about the status of the project and whether the seller has an existing mortgage on the property. When the owner is selling a mortgaged property in Dubai, the transaction becomes slightly complicated. In this case, the owner must settle the original mortgage on the property in full before applying for the title deed NOC.

The buyer must also sign an agreement with the developer, stating the terms and conditions of the agreement and make sure there are no ambiguities between the buyer and the seller over the price, mode of payment and other considerations that are important to both.

Divorce law

Question: I am having a dispute with my husband and I have a four-year-old daughter. My husband is outside the UAE for four months now and has neither paid us any allowance nor has he agreed to divorce me. Do I have the right to file a case against him while he is outside the UAE? And if the case is filed, will the court allow a divorce? How can I secure my rights?

Answer: You have the right to file for divorce, claiming custody and alimony, in the courts of UAE and request for application of your Personal Status Law or the UAE Personal Status Law. According to Article (9) of the mentioned law, ‘The courts of the plaintiff’s or defendant’s domicile, residence or place of business, or the conjugal domicile, shall have jurisdiction to examine the lawsuits introduced by the children, wife, parents or the fostering nurse, as the case may be, in the following instances:

A) Costs, wages and the like.

B) Fostering, visitation and related matters.

C) Dowry, trousseau, gifts and the like.

D) Divorce, divorce in return of money, discharge, rescission and separation between spouses of all kinds.’

The court will grant you a divorce if you have sufficient reasons for it. A child’s custody is a mother’s right established from the date of birth of the child until the date determined for the expiration of the custody in accordance with the provisions of Article 156 of the law, when a male child reaches 11 years of age and a female child reaches 13 years of age, unless the court decides to extend this age limit upon the mother’s request for the benefit of the child, until the male child attains adulthood and the female child marries.

You also have the right to demand alimony. Alimony is of two types — that which is given to the wife as a result of divorce, and that which is related to the children as a result of custody. Alimony for the wife includes dowry, ‘idda’, housing and also compensation (‘motaa’). For child custody, alimony includes monthly alimony for the child, expenses for clothing, medical, school, housing, payment of utility bills, internet, transportation etc. In assessing the amount of alimony, it shall be taken into consideration the possibilities of the debtor thereof, the circumstances of the beneficiary and the economic situation, in terms of place and time, provided it does not fall below the sufficiency level.

Getting a judgement in UAE will give you the right to execute it here or in the husband’s new country of residence, in case there is an execution agreement between UAE and his country of residence.