Interview: Sultan Buti Bin Mejren

How does the pending Real Estate Investor Protection law attempt to balance the requirements of both investors and developers?

SULTAN BUTI BIN MEJREN: Property laws in the emirate aim to protect the rights of all parties within the real estate market, including developers, investors and tenants. They aim to strike a balance between a number of interests, namely the development of a real estate market that is transparent and sustainable. Protection of all parties involved in the real estate development process serves the economy as a whole, the interest of Dubai and the UAE, as well as investors, who, feeling protected, will have the confidence to continue to invest. This is currently evident in the sustained growth that we are seeing now. Real estate developers will of course benefit from these protective measures. DLD conducts intense scrutiny to ensure sustainability and professional and ethical behaviour in the real estate market, with primary focus on protecting market participants, noting that the various aspects of development, brokerage, valuation, management, leasing and real estate survey all represent the utmost importance, DLD is watching carefully to provide protection against harmful practices.

What types of databases are being considered to maximise transparency?

BIN MEJREN: The Dubai market has matured, and we at DLD are implementing a long-term vision to make Dubai the first choice for property investors. Dubai has the most transparent real estate market in the MENA region, as certified by the Jones Lang LaSalle Transparency index. This is attributed to carefully developed regulations and sharing of information with the real estate market.

With the launch of the indexes indicators we are working to enhance our services – most notably the services and maintenance fee index – which elevates the level of disclosure and trust between developers and owners, as well as buyers and end-users. This is all conducted under the supervision of government authorities concerned with the organisation of the real estate market. Our combined efforts have laid the foundations, criteria and mechanisms for calculating service and maintenance fees across various development projects in Dubai.

The Dubai Rental Index was originally conceived as an indicator to identify rents across all areas in Dubai, and has now evolved to deal with disputes between landlords and tenants. It works in coordination with the Rental Dispute Centre between landlords and tenants to implement provisions of the law. In addition to these two indicators, there are a mixture of daily and periodical reports on the Dubai property market situation and related investments. These provide a clear and transparent picture of the real estate market movement, and as such, Dubai has the highest standard of transparency in the region.

How do you assess the effectiveness of the Tanmia programme so far, and what do you see as its prospects for the year to come?

BIN MEJREN: Tanmia aims to revitalise the real estate market through a focus on re-activating stalled real estate projects in all market categories, and it targets the government and private sector as beneficiaries of these projects. We have so far achieved the revival of over 50 stalled real estate projects in Dubai, the total value of which is estimated to be around Dh11bn ($3bn) since the programme launch. The Tanmia programme won the best “Creative Idea” category at the Dubai Government Excellence Programme 2015. Moreover, it has helped restore confidence in the emirate’s real estate market by bringing to life many stalled projects. We will work through the Investment Management and Promotion Centre to encourage and develop the investment environment in the country, with platforms such as Tanmia and Tayseer.