Abu Dhabi to have realty law this year

Skyscrapers near Corniche Park in Abu Dhabi. The upcoming real estate regulatory framework will be governed by the Department of Municipal Affairs. (EB FILE)

Abu Dhabi Emirate will have the long-awaited real estate regulatory framework by the end of this year that will include escrow accounts and all other important aspects.

The framework will be governed by the Department of Municipal Affairs, and if the need arises, a separate authority will be formed to implement it.

"By law, the Department of Municipal Affairs is the government representative for developing the real estate regulatory framework," Ahmed Sharif, Undersecretary of the Department of Municipal Affairs, told Emirates Business at Cityscape Abu Dhabi.

When asked about the key features of the new law, Sharif said: "It will be a very comprehensive regulatory framework that will cover all aspects of the sector, starting from registration, escrow accounts, mortgage, brokerage and other crucial features that fully regulate the sector to protect the interests of all involved parties." He said a separate law on ownership is already out and the next step will be to integrate it with the new regulation.

Earlier, addressing the Real Estate Investment and Development Conference on the sidelines of Cityscape, Sharif said the regulatory framework was necessary to protect the interests of all, including the private sector investors, as well as complying with the government's Vision 2030 to make Abu Dhabi one of the top five governments in the world.

He said the draft of the framework was ready six months ago, but was held back and revised on the advice of the government to include necessary feedback to make it more comprehensive and effective.

"It is now almost finished and will soon be introduced. We expect to release and implement it by the end of the year," he added.

Sharif also said the upcoming law will also keep speculators and "bad" investors away and will allow only investors on long-term and partnership basis.

"Let me reiterate that it is about standards. We don't want companies that don't buy in. Those days are gone. Move on, but not within Abu Dhabi, not here in the UAE, and even better not even in the Gulf," he added. Sharif also said those investors who come here, make money and go, will not be allowed to enter the market under the new regulatory framework.

"They should be partners who understand the need to help us shape and enforce a regulatory framework, which not only guarantees sustainability but also helps residents, [local] investors, consumers and the wider world have confidence in what Abu Dhabi does when it undertakes the rapid expansion that comes with an enhanced economic position," he added. Sharif reiterated that Abu Dhabi's infrastructure and other plans that were drawn under Vision 2030 well before the financial crisis will not be changed because of the global slowdown.

"Abu Dhabi has ambitious plans for infrastructure development that are massive and very expensive, and this is also very crucial that Abu Dhabi has not changed these plans nor will change them."


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