DIFC Authority releases consultation paper on subject of freehold land ownership in the DIFC

The Dubai International Financial Centre Authority (DIFCA) today published for consultation the DIFC Real Property Law 2006 and the Strata Title Law 2006.

Real Property Law

The Real Property Law guarantees ownership of freehold land and interest in land within the DIFC. It will allow for foreign 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. Land transactions are registered in a central register. Once registered, the Law certifies them to be fully effective. This is the key distinguishing feature of the Real Property Law. Unlike some other systems of land registration, interest registered under the Real Property Law are “indefeasible”. In practical terms, this means that persons buying real estate, lending on the security of real estate, or taking a lease on real estate, 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, introducing a simple but comprehensive system of rights and responsibilities.

Opening of consultation 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 as well as implementing an internationally proven legal system in line with its mission, vision and values as an international financial centre of first order.

Once the 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 solely apply exclusively in the jurisdiction of the DIFC.

he public is encouraged to review the proposed legislation and provide any comments they may have to the DIFC Authority’s Chief Legal Officer, Dean A. Ferris. The laws may be accessed on the DIFC Authority website www.difc.ae, which includes the process whereby comments on the laws may be submitted. The comment process will run until 6 September 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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