DIFC Authority extends consultation period on subject of freehold land ownership in the DIFC

Due to extensive public interest, the Dubai International Financial Centre Authority (DIFCA) today extended the consultation period for the DIFC Real Property Law 2006 and the Strata Title Law 2006 for an additional 30 days. The previous consultation period ran from 13 August until 13 September, 2006.

Real Property Law

The Real Property Law guarantees ownership of freehold land and interest in land within the DIFC.  It will allow companies and individuals to hold freehold ownership of real estate within the Dubai International Financial Centre.

The Law is based on the underlying principles of English common law, but also incorporates the Torrens system of land registration, well known in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Singapore.  Under the Real Property Law, land transactions are registered in a central register administered in the DIFC.  Once registered, the Law certifies them to be fully effective.  Unlike some other systems of land registration, title interests registered under the Real Property Law are “indefeasible”.  In practical terms, this means that persons buying real estate in the DIFC, or, lending on the security of real estate in the DIFC, or taking a lease of real estate in the DIFC, can be assured that their investment is backed by the full protection of the Law.

Strata Title Law

The Strata Title Law establishes a system of guaranteed freehold title to units in buildings in the DIFC.  It is based on the system originally developed in Australia, but now in use in many countries around the world, including Singapore.

The Law combines the benefits of guaranteed title under the Real Property Law with an administrative structure designed to handle the day-to-day management of buildings. It will help overcome the complexities of co-owners association constitutions, master community declarations, and the like, by introducing a simple but comprehensive system of rights and responsibilities.  It incorporates many of the key concepts of existing co-owners association arrangements already in use in Dubai, but simplifies them and adds a title guarantee.

Extending the consultation period for the DIFC Real Property Law 2006 and the Strata Title Law 2006 fulfils the assurances made by DIFCA to developers, investors and clients alike, concerning real property rights within the DIFC jurisdiction.  During the initial consultation period, over 200 submissions were received.  All were considered, and many were incorporated into the revised versions of the laws.  The result will be an internationally proven system of and registration and real property ownership, in line with the DIFC’s mission, vision and values as an international financial centre of first order.

Once the extended consultation period is complete and all relevant comments have been incorporated in the new laws, they will be sent for enactment by the Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

These laws will apply exclusively in the jurisdiction of the DIFC.

Comments can be sent attention to the DIFC Authority’s Chief Legal Officer, Dean A. Ferris.  The laws may be accessed on the DIFC Authority website at 
https://www.difc.ae/laws_regulations/proposed/proposed_laws.html, which includes the process whereby comments on the laws may be submitted.  Due to the Eid holiday, the consultation period has been extended to 29th November 2006, after which date the proposed legislation will be presented to the Ruler of Dubai for enactment in accordance with Dubai Law No. 9 of 2004.

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