New rules for real estate agents in Dubai to improve transparency

New rules have been introduced for estate agents in Dubai which mean they must have all advertising signed off by Dubai’s real estate regulatory department before going live and verify property ownership before conducting a sale or letting.

But not everyone is pleases with the directions from the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) and the Dubai Land Department with warnings about increased red tape.

Agents will now have to apply to the Dubai Land Department for a permit for ‘any real estate announcements’ including adverts for property for sale and to let in print, on radio, websites and social media.

According to a circular from Marwan Ahmed Bin Ghalita, Rera chief executive officer any property listing that does not have a corresponding permit number will be ‘dismissed’ and legal action could be brought against firms that fail to comply.

The permits will be granted immediately on application as long as the agents meet the required terms and conditions, otherwise it could up to two days, in a move that has been brought in to crackdown on property fraud and false advertising.

It is also another step in promoting more transparency in the emirate’s real estate market, but there is concern that time consuming bureaucracy could slow down the real estate sales and letting process.

‘This is a further step along the way to better regulation of the brokerage environment and ensuring that agents are above board. Often, adverts might be listed multiple times, or when a viewer rings up to enquire about one they find that the property does not exist or is not available, or that a listing is literally too good to be true,’ said Mat Green, head of research at CBRE Middle East and Africa.

‘However, and although it all depends on how the new rules are implemented, it does sound a bit onerous at present,’ said Mat Green, head of research at CBRE Middle East and Africa.

David Godchaux, chief executive officer of Core Savills, existing rules should also be adhered to. ‘Sometimes adding another layer to what is existing may not be as productive as implementing properly what is existing. You can create 20 laws, but maybe if you enforce existing laws better it could have the same result,’ he pointed out.

A further new rule requires real estate agents to verify property ownership before conducting a sale or letting by using the Government’s Dubai Brokers ‘smart’ system to check title deeds and other ownership information.

‘It is the responsibility of registered real estate brokers to preserve the rights of all customers and investors, by verifying real estate ownership data before performing any real estate sale or rental transaction,’ said Ali Abdullah Al Ali, director of the Real Estate Licensing Department at the DLD.