DIFC freehold land ownership laws enacted

Following public consultation the Real Property (DIFC  Law  No.4 of 2007)  and Strata Title ( DIFC  Law  No.5 of 2007 ), as well as Regulations complementing these laws, have been enacted by the Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The Laws and Regulations will be effective immediately.

To ensure the quality of these laws the DIFCA held a 30 day consultation period and encouraged all interested parties to submit their thoughts on these laws. During the consultation period, over 200 submissions were received. Due to the enormous interest of the public the consultation period was later extended for an additional 30 days.

All submissions were considered, and many were incorporated in the revised versions of the laws.  The resulting laws provide an internationally proven system for registration and real property ownership in line with the DIFC’s mission vision and values as an international financial centre. These laws apply exclusively in the jurisdiction of the DIFC.

Real Property Law
The Real Property Law guarantees ownership of freehold land and buildings, and other interest in land, within the DIFC.  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, 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 in particular 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.

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