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26 February 2024

Register owners' association within six months of Strata

CEO Marwan bin Ghalita (SUPPLIED)

By Parag Deulgaonkar
Developers will have to register owners' association (OA) within six months from the date of issuance of the Strata Law regulations, which will be issued by early March, said Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera).

"In early March, four regulations relating to jointly owned property developments will be issued. These regulations will create the legal framework enabling developers, and in certain instances, owners to apply for the registration of an owners' association with Rera," the agency said in a statement issued yesterday.

Emirates Business reported on Tuesday that Rera's "Mollak" online registration system of owners' associations will become operational by month-end.

According to Rera, developers wishing to use the on-line system will need to undertake a short training programme, after which they will be given a user name and password to access the system. Registrations for the training programme will commence on March 3 and the first training sessions will commence on March 8.

The system will be available for use by March 15 and will allow sufficient time for developers keen to register to prepare the necessary documentation and information. In addition to regulating the registration of an OA, the regulations will introduce international standards in governing the management and operation of OAs.

The owners of apartments or villas in a registered jointly owned property development will also become members of an OA.

The owners association will be responsible for administering and maintaining the common areas in their building or villa community and will be governed by a board elected by the owners.

Owners will be empowered to view the financial statements of the OA and to approve the budgets for expenses that will be incurred in managing and maintaining the common areas on an annual basis.

Service charges

Service charges for existing buildings, which have been handed over, will be frozen at the rates that were applicable in 2008 unless the 2009 rates are less or have been approved by Rera, said Chief Executive Officer Marwan bin Ghalita in a statement.

The freeze will last until the first general assembly of the OA, which will have to be held within three months of registration

Service charges for buildings that are about to be handed over, or are in the process of being handed over, will be subject to the approval by Rera and after approval will apply until the first general assembly of the OA.

Owners in both categories of buildings will be required to pay the relevant service charges until the owners approve, with or without amendment, the service charges at the first general assembly of the OA.

Service charges, which have already been paid by owners for 2009, will be adjusted accordingly after the service charges are approved by the OA.

Developers or managers currently managing jointly owned properties (such as buildings or villa communities) must continue to manage such properties until the first general assembly of the OA at which time they must present a proper budget for consideration by owners, Al Ghalita said.

OAs will be required to appoint an OA manager (general manager) who will be responsible for the administrative, secretarial and financial affairs of the association. The general manager will need to obtain a license from Rera and to do so will need to show that they are qualified to manage OAs, attend the necessary training course and have the appropriate professional indemnity insurance in place.

As soon as the regulations are issued, the Land Department and Rera will hold sessions for developers, interested owners and professionals in the real estate sector, Al Ghalita added.