Real estate companies in Dubai are now required to follow a new set of ethical standards aimed at making them more professional and accountable while protecting investors in a rapidly growing industry.

A circular issued to the companies by the Dubai Land Department through the Real Estate Regulatory Agency on Monday spells out 10 comprehensive guidelines, that among other things, helps maintain public trust and prevents brokers from divulging any information about their clients.

The guidelines come at a time when the results of real estate sector’s performance in the first five months of 2019 indicate a significant improvement in the value of transactions and investments. According to the DLD’s annual report, the value of real estate transactions in Dubai reached Dh106 billion during this period, compared to Dh95 billion in 2018, recording a growth rate of 12 per cent. DLD has also helped the UAE in achieving seventh place globally in the real estate registration index.

While the first principle requires real estate firms to do what it takes to maintain and enhance the confidence of all stakeholders, the second prevents them from sharing client data without prior approval from government agencies. Or barring those instances when handing over the data is required by local laws.

“This ultimately means that Dubai’s real estate market maintains its reputation as one of the best investment havens in the world,” Marwan Bin Ghalita, CEO of RERA, said in a statement.

The third principle pinpoints possible conflict of interests, and requires real estate firms to take all appropriate measures, including disclosure, “before and during the performance of their duties” in case they encounter such a situation. Next on the list is the need to play on a level playing field with customers, with race or religion not a consideration under any circumstances. “This ensures and supports Dubai’s real estate sector in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) to strengthen the national economy for the benefit of all sectors,” said Bin Ghalita.

The fifth principle harps on total integrity, whereby real estate firms must base their “professional advice on relevant, valid and objective evidence”, just as the sixth takes up the issue of managing customer expectations. All businesses must adhere to “regulatory compliance” to ensure those are met. In this regard, Bin Ghalita noted the “crucial role played by Land Department as well as keeping pace with market changes and constantly monitoring customer expectations and needs”.

Providing “truly professional services” is the basis of the seventh principle, by making sure developers and all other industry stakeholders provide for optimum customer satisfaction.

RERA, under the eight guideline, also requires companies to commit to transparency and not mislead or attempt to mislead. They should not misinform or withhold information regarding products or terms of service. This is “in line with the general climate prevailing in the UAE in general, and Dubai in particular,” Bin Ghalita added.

The ninth commandment is about customer rights and asset protection. “This is the aspect that is ensured by the laws and legislations issued by the Government of Dubai, and closely followed by Land Departmemt across its various sectors and departments, especially the Rental Disputes Centre,” the statement added.

All real estate businesses must aim for the greater good, and “work to respect the values and principles of the society”, concludes the 10th principle.