Property Laws in the UAE: The Rights You Should Know

Property Laws in the UAE: The Rights You Should Know


The UAE has become a hub for investment in recent years. It has not only emerged as one of the most sought-after tourist destinations but also a perfect place for business ventures. People around the world acknowledge the fact that making an investment in the UAE is one of the best financial decisions they will ever make.

The real estate in the country is growing at an unprecedented rate, providing opportunities for investors and tenants alike. However, be aware of the pitfalls. The property laws in the emirates are very complex like in any other country. Therefore, it is paramount to understand the laws associated with real estate. Here are some basic property rights which you need to know before you make any decision:


Although, the financial crisis of 2008 gave the fatal blow to the Emirati property, still the market managed to attract a huge investment again.

Buying property in Dubai or Abu Dhabi is somehow a complicated process. The problem arises from the initial paperwork and misunderstanding regarding what actually constitutes a property. For example, in Dubai, the word ‘freehold’, does not signify, as in some countries, ownership of land in perpetuity. It holds a different meaning in different emirates. So, potential buyers need to do the correct interpretation based on the rules of the country. That is to say, Emirati nationals are allowed to purchase freehold property wherever they want in Abu Dhabi while this is not the case for GCC nationals. They can possess property in nine specific investment zones.

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Apart from this, a Sales and Purchase Agreement (SPA) is an important document for commercial transactions and property dealing in the UAE. Therefore, you need to make sure that you have settled all the issues before signing the SPA. If there is still something to settle, then you need to write ‘Long Stop Date’. This means that after the specific date, any party may walk away from the deal if they want to. Above all, you need to find a legitimate party before making a deal.


Dubai, the city of gold, has shown remarkable development since the past few decades. Now, it has a population of 3.38 Million in which around 60 percent of people still pay rents. To clarify, many people are caught in a trap of false contracts, evictions, or even worse. There are some laws, understanding of which can help you avoid such issues.

When it comes to renting, you need to decide with whom you can live with. It would be a sane choice to live with friends or colleagues. However, living with an unmarried partner is a crime of ‘voluntary debasement’. Anyone who finds engaging in consensual intercourse will be punished by a minimum one-year custodial sentence as per Article 356 of the UAE Penal Code.

In addition, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) bills should be paid only by those individuals whose names are mentioned on the bill. This can be done only by one person per household. However, a married couple is eligible only if they have registered their count.

When you draw up a tenancy contract, there are several things to consider. Whether you want an apartment for rent in Sharjah or any other place, you need to do the following things.

  • Make sure that you are dealing with a Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA)-registered broker.
  • Register yourself with Ejari (‘My Rent’ in Arabic). This is the chief rent regulator in Dubai that protects a tenancy agreement.

To sum up, you need to understand all your property rights in order to avoid any misfortunes in the future.

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