Dubai grants foreigners property ownership rights
Foreigners make up more than 80 per cent of Dubai's estimated 1.2 million population.india Updated: Mar 17, 2006 04:52 IST
Dubai has passed a law to legitimise property ownership by foreigners, who previously bought indirectly through contracts with developers.
"Foreigners can become freehold property owners in areas designated by the ruler," said the text of the law, reprinted in several newspapers.
"They can also derive benefit from their property or rent it out for a period not exceeding 99 years."
Foreigners make up more than 80 per cent of Dubai's estimated 1.2 million population.
Until now, property ownership was limited to residents of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and other nationals of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which also includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Previously, foreigners who bought property in Dubai's bustling real estate market, such as British football star David Beckham, received a deed from the major developing companies. These are effectively owned and controlled by Dubai's government and its ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, and his family.
"Passing a law that authorises foreigners to buy property is a real gain for the market and investors," said Mohammed Ali al-Abbar, chairman of Dubai-based EMAAR Properties, the world's largest real estate firm in terms of market capitalisation.
"The massive projects that are being built now would have hit serious problems if the issue of freehold ownership had not been resolved," he said.