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A questioner from Dubai asks: 3 years ago, I bought an off-plan apartment from one of the developers, and now when I received the apartment, it became clear to me that the room sizes are small and not in conformity with the purchase agreement.

Therefore, I refused to receive the apartment and asked the developer to cancel the purchase agreement and return the sums I paid, as this apartment is not suitable for my family members. My question is, do I legally have the right, according to the real estate law in Dubai, to terminate the property purchase agreement for this reason and return the sums I paid in addition to the appropriate compensation? Please advise.


To answer this question, I would advise the questioner that:

Article 20 of the of the Executive Council Resolution No. (6) of 2010 Approving the Implementing Bylaw of Law No. (13) of 2008 Regulating the Interim Property Register in the Emirate of Dubai, states that: “The purchaser may apply to the relevant competent court to terminate the contractual relationship between you and the developer in any of the following cases (….3) if the developer makes material changes to the agreed specifications agreed to in the agreement; 4) if, upon handover of the Real Property Unit, it is found that the Real Property Unit is unfit for use due to material constructional defects; or 5) any other cases that may require termination of the agreement in accordance with the general principles of law.


And according to the general principles of UAE Civil Transactions Law in its Article 523: “If the increment or deficiency add to the obligation of the purchaser beyond what he has intended to purchase or change the nature of the transaction, he may opt for the cancellation of the sale unless the difference is trifle and it does not contradict the purpose sought by the purchaser. In case the purchaser takes delivery of the thing sold with knowledge of the deficiency, he shall forfeit his right to the cancellation option mentioned in the preceding paragraph.”

Moreover, Article 13 of the Executive Council Resolution No. (6) Of 2010, obliges the developer to indemnify the purchaser if the area of the Real Property Unit is less than the agreed area by more than five percent (5%) of the net area of such unit.

Article (14) states that ("If any dispute arises between the developer and the purchaser, the Department may attempt conciliation to preserve their contractual relationship and may propose solutions for such purpose as it may deem fit. If the Department concludes an amicable settlement, such settlement must be confirmed in writing by an agreement executed by the developer and the purchaser or their respective representatives. Upon confirmation of such agreement by the Department, it will become binding upon both parties."

As a conclusion, you have the right to recourse to the court in case there is a difference in the plot area (if it exceeds 5% of the agreed area), you do not want to settle with the developer and feels that the unit is unfit, contradicts the purpose sought by you, changes the nature of the purchase and the developer makes material changes to the specifications agreed to in the agreement.

This matter will be estimated by the court which will take the decision as per the documents submitted.