• 17 Oct 2017

    Property: Tenancy and Landlord rights in Dubai according to RERA

    Your tenancy contract is one of the most important documents to consider while residing in Dubai, and knowing your tenancy rights and obligations are key to ensuring that you have a mutually respectful relationship with your landlord.

    The most important thing for both parties to remember is that where a tenancy contract is valid, it may not be unilaterally terminated during its term by the landlord or the tenant. It can only be terminated by mutual consent or in accordance with the provisions of this law

    Tenant’s rights

    1. The landlord should not give you a home that is in a bad condition. They are bound by law, to hand over the property in good condition, which allows the tenant full use as stated in the contract.
    2. The landlord should not make you responsible for maintenance. As per the law and during the term of the contract, the landlord should be responsible for the property’s maintenance works and for repairing any defect or damage that may affect the tenant’s intended use of the property.
    3. The landlord may not make any changes to the property or any of its amenities or annexes that would prevent the tenant from full use of the property as intended.
    4. The landlord must provide the tenant with the approvals required to be submitted to the competent official entities in the Emirate whenever and if the tenant wishes to carry out decoration works or any other works that require such approvals, provided that this does not affect the structure of the property and that the tenant has the official documents requesting such approvals.
    5. The landlord cannot threaten to withhold security deposit. If this happens, the tenant can complain to the rent dispute committee which will take a final decision
    6. The landlord is prohibited from disconnecting services to the property or preventing the tenant from benefiting from the property without notice. In the event of occurrence of such incidents, the tenant shall refer to police station in the same area to prove the case or to stop such prevention, and also file a case before the Rent Dispute Committee, enclosing supporting reports, for compensation of any damages.
    7. Rent increase for contract renewal is only allowed as per the RERA rental brackets as seen on the RERA website for different areas and types of properties.

    Tenant’s obligations

    1. The tenant must pay agreed-upon rent on due dates and maintain the property in such a manner as any ordinary individuals would maintain their own property.
    2. The tenant cannot make changes to the property without getting permission from the landlord, and subsequently getting approval from competent authorities.
    3. The tenant may be required to pay a security deposit which the landlord agrees to return or refund upon mutually agreed termination or expiry of tenancy.
    4. Upon the expiry of the tenancy contract, the tenant must surrender possession of the property to the landlord in the same condition in which he or she received it at the time of entering into the contract, except for ordinary wear and tear, or for damage due to reasons beyond the tenant’s control.
    5. Unless stated otherwise in the contract, the tenant must pay all fees and taxes due to government authorities for use of the property as well as any fees or taxes prescribed for any sub-lease.
    6. Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, upon vacating and surrendering possession of the property, the tenant may not remove any leasehold improvements made by the tenant.
    7. Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, the tenant may not assign the use of or sub-lease the property to third parties without the written consent of the landlord.

    Glossary:

    Landlord: The person who owns the home and rents it out

    Tenant: The person who enters into a contract to rent the home owned by the landlord

    Tenancy Contract: The contract between the tenant and the landlord that details the information of the rental agreement, including rent, payment schedules, inclusions and other details.

     

  • 17 Oct 2017

    DAMAC’s Just Cavalli Villas in Record Sell-Out

    Damac Properties, a leading luxury real estate developer in the region, has announced the complete sell-out of all units in Phase One of Just Cavalli villas at its golf development, Akoya Oxygen, in Dubai.

    Just Cavalli villas were borne out of a recent collaboration between Damac Properties and the Roberto Cavalli Group to launch the world’s first villas to feature interiors with the “Just Cavalli” signature-style, said a statement from the developer.

    Located in one of Dubai’s most prestigious golf communities, the luxury villas perfectly embody the designer’s bold and iconic styling and ethos, with exotic and innovative interiors complemented by daring exteriors.

    To cater to the strong investor interest, Damac Properties has announced the release of additional units for sale, it stated.

    Priced from Dh1.3 million ($353,867) with an easy payment plan over three years, the latest collection of Just Cavalli villas will go on sale on October 21, across all of Damac’s sales offices in Dubai from 10am till 10pm, said the Dubai developer in its statement.

    For a limited period only, Damac Properties has made it even more attractive for customers by waiving 50 per cent of the DLD registration fees, with customers set to save Dh26,000 or more, depending on the unit they choose, it added.

    Niall McLoughlin, the senior vice-president of Damac Properties, said: “Our unique Just Cavalli product has been a tremendous success, drawing interest from investors and end-users who appreciate the novelty of bespoke products and premium location within a golf community, recognising great value for such properties.”

    “Due to popular demand, we are pleased to release new units for those customers who missed the opportunity the first time,” he stated.

    Just Cavalli villas are available in a variety of configurations and sizes including three-bedroom options that offer additional choice with rooftop terraces and unique lower ground floors that provide additional recreational or utility space for the family.

    A standalone six-bedroom option is also available for larger families who seek additional space. The villas feature separate living/dining area and kitchen and have access to the community’s Just Cavalli gym equipped with modern equipment, kids play area, multi court, barbeque area and outdoor cinema.

    “The success of the first phase demonstrates the commitment of Damac to deliver dream homes and unparalleled lifestyles. As the pioneer in the branded real estate space in Dubai, we are proud of the associations we have forged with prestigious global brands to bring aspirational living concepts to customers who seek it,” remarked McLoughlin.

    “Not only do they offer a unique and iconic style, Just Cavalli villas also present great value for money and are priced competitively for properties that have signature elements and touches from a major fashion house,” he added.

    Set within Akoya Oxygen, these villas will also have access to the many amenities on offer in the master development including nature-inspired facilities, gourmet fare, retail boutiques, its own rainforest and an 18-hole international golf club.

  • 16 Oct 2017

    Dubai rents at 3-year low: Time to move to a bigger house?

    Average rentals in Dubai continued to decline in the third quarter of the year, with average rents for a studio apartment falling to below Dh50,000 for the first time in three years, fresh data shows.

    According to property consultancy CBRE’s MarketView report for the third quarter of 2017, Dubai’s average rentals have declined by 1.5 per cent from the previous quarter even as there were some notable variations in performances at a sub-market level.

    Looking for an apartment in Dubai? Start your search here

    MarketView data shows that average prices for a one-bedroom unit in Dubai are now below Dh70,000, a two-bedroom unit will set you back by less than Dh100,000 while an average three-bedroom now goes for under Dh140,000, all at a three-year low.

    A quick scan of PropertyFinder.ae data by Khaleej Times shows that studios in Dubai can be rented for as low as Dh25,000 per year or Dh2,084 per month.

    Several studio apartments in Dubai’s International City area being offered for rent for less than Dh30,000 per annum (Dh2,500 per month).

    One-bedroom apartments, on the other hand, start at Dh36,000 per annum (Dh3,000 per month) in Dubai’s Barsha South and Al Nahda areas, with some landlords even offering to pay the monthly utility bill as incentives for prospective tenants.

    Rentals for two-bedroom apartments in Dubai start at Dh42,000 per annum (Dh3,500 per month) in Muhaisnah and Dh46,000 per year (Dh3,834 per month) in Al Nahda area.

    Low rents, however, are not a deterrent for prospective investors as the number of transactions in Dubai’s residential markets is on an upswing.

    According to CBRE, data from the Dubai Land Department shows that the total value of residential transactions increased by approximately 11 per cent in H1 over the same period last year, driven by growth in overall transaction numbers, which rose by close to 29 per cent.

    However, average sales prices experienced a minor dip, falling by around 1 per cent. “The disparity between rising deal volumes and the performance of the leasing sector, demonstrates how investors appear to be taking a longer-term view on the residential market, looking beyond softening rentals and focusing on the availability of attractive prices and the increased flexibility of payment plans offered across both completed and off-plan projects,” said Mat Green, Head of Research & Consulting UAE, CBRE Middle East.

    Future supply levels continue to grow, with an array of new projects announced during the quarter, including a new joint venture between Meydan and Sobha Group, ‘The Residences’ in Mohammed Bin Rashid City, Nakheel’s ‘Palm Residences’, and Wasl’s new flagship development ‘Wasl One’ located in Al Kifaf area.

  • 17 Oct 2017

    Dubai home below Dh1 million? I will buy

    All the action in the Dubai property sector is transpiring in the under-Dh1 million price market. Not only does this signify an effort by developers to tap the mid-income market segment but also the willingness of banks to finance more end-users.

    According to GCP Properties, in terms of expected supply that has been announced, 37 per cent is below the Dh1,000 per square foot while 45 per cent of the property transactions conducted since 2015 have been below the Dh1 million mark.

    “This suggests that there has not only been a definitive shift in the part of developers to cater to this latent demand, this shift has also met with success as Dubai moves its focus to cater to the more mid-income segment of the demand curve,” says Hussain Alladin, head of research at GCP Properties.

    In terms of new supply, a majority of off-plan units being launched is below Dh1 million, mostly apartments and townhouses.

    Most off-plan transactions in this price range is concentrated in areas such as Dubai South, Al Furjan, Town Square, Jumeirah Village Circle, Jumeirah Village Triangle, MBR City, Akoya and Akoya Oxygen. Emaar, Dubai South, Azizi, Damac, Nshama and Danube are only some of the developers offering properties in this price point.

    “The most popular off-plan transaction is a 1-bed in Dubai South with an average sale price of Dh583,000, followed very closely by a 2-bed in Dubai South with an average sale price of Dh860,000,” informs Lynnette Abad, partner and head of Property Monitor.

    The sub-Dh1 million mark is mostly made up of studios and one bedrooms, and to this extent, there is supply in more upscale areas such as Dubai Marina, Business Bay and Meydan. It is only when you look at two bedrooms and above, does the number of communities shrink.

    Meanwhile, if you are looking to buy a ready property on the secondary market below Dh1 million, consider communities such as Discovery Gardens, International City, Dubai Sports City, Silicon Oasis, IMPZ, Dubai Investments Park, Al Khail Heights, Jumeirah Village and areas in Dubailand that include Liwan, Majan, Arjan and Dubai Residential Complex.

    “The average apartment sale in Discovery Gardens is Dh706,000 for a 1-bed and Dh494,000 for a studio,” adds Abad.

    In areas such as Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Lakes Towers, there are a lot of ready units available below Dh1 million, according to Lewis Allsopp, CEO, Allsopp & Allsopp.

    “There are also off-plan options on the Palm Jumeirah that you can buy for under Dh1 million as well as in Dubai Hills, Dubai Creek, Business Bay and JLT,” he adds.

    However, anecdotal evidence suggests that it is still mostly investors who are picking up homes below Dh1 million.

    “The biggest challenge to date is for an end-user to come up with a 25 per cent down payment. If developers can create a scheme which caters to this group, whether it’s through a rent-to-own option etc, they will capture a very large end-user market which has been yearning to purchase property in Dubai,” observes Abad.

    Although end-users are buying properties where the developer offers attractive payment plans, activity is expected to pick up considerably once the properties are handed over and buyers can get banks to finance 75 per cent of the purchase.

    “The challenge has always been for end users to obtain financing. Banks have become more willing to provide financing, and this is reflected in the mortgage statistics. Mortgage transactions have risen from 20 per cent of overall activity in 2012 to more than 55 per cent in 2017. Nonetheless, demand will be even higher should financing conditions ease further,” reckons Alladin.

    Besides the down payment, end-users must also pay several processing fees during their property purchase.

    “We’re talking approximately 32 per cent of the property value, once we consider bank fees also. It’s a lot of money for people to be able to save up

Property: Tenancy and Landlord rights in Dubai according to RERA

Your tenancy contract is one of the most important documents to consider while residing in Dubai, and knowing your tenancy rights and obligations are key to ensuring that you have a mutually respectful relationship with your landlord.

The most important thing for both parties to remember is that where a tenancy contract is valid, it may not be unilaterally terminated during its term by the landlord or the tenant. It can only be terminated by mutual consent or in accordance with the provisions of this law

Tenant’s rights

  1. The landlord should not give you a home that is in a bad condition. They are bound by law, to hand over the property in good condition, which allows the tenant full use as stated in the contract.
  2. The landlord should not make you responsible for maintenance. As per the law and during the term of the contract, the landlord should be responsible for the property’s maintenance works and for repairing any defect or damage that may affect the tenant’s intended use of the property.
  3. The landlord may not make any changes to the property or any of its amenities or annexes that would prevent the tenant from full use of the property as intended.
  4. The landlord must provide the tenant with the approvals required to be submitted to the competent official entities in the Emirate whenever and if the tenant wishes to carry out decoration works or any other works that require such approvals, provided that this does not affect the structure of the property and that the tenant has the official documents requesting such approvals.
  5. The landlord cannot threaten to withhold security deposit. If this happens, the tenant can complain to the rent dispute committee which will take a final decision
  6. The landlord is prohibited from disconnecting services to the property or preventing the tenant from benefiting from the property without notice. In the event of occurrence of such incidents, the tenant shall refer to police station in the same area to prove the case or to stop such prevention, and also file a case before the Rent Dispute Committee, enclosing supporting reports, for compensation of any damages.
  7. Rent increase for contract renewal is only allowed as per the RERA rental brackets as seen on the RERA website for different areas and types of properties.

Tenant’s obligations

  1. The tenant must pay agreed-upon rent on due dates and maintain the property in such a manner as any ordinary individuals would maintain their own property.
  2. The tenant cannot make changes to the property without getting permission from the landlord, and subsequently getting approval from competent authorities.
  3. The tenant may be required to pay a security deposit which the landlord agrees to return or refund upon mutually agreed termination or expiry of tenancy.
  4. Upon the expiry of the tenancy contract, the tenant must surrender possession of the property to the landlord in the same condition in which he or she received it at the time of entering into the contract, except for ordinary wear and tear, or for damage due to reasons beyond the tenant’s control.
  5. Unless stated otherwise in the contract, the tenant must pay all fees and taxes due to government authorities for use of the property as well as any fees or taxes prescribed for any sub-lease.
  6. Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, upon vacating and surrendering possession of the property, the tenant may not remove any leasehold improvements made by the tenant.
  7. Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, the tenant may not assign the use of or sub-lease the property to third parties without the written consent of the landlord.

Glossary:

Landlord: The person who owns the home and rents it out

Tenant: The person who enters into a contract to rent the home owned by the landlord

Tenancy Contract: The contract between the tenant and the landlord that details the information of the rental agreement, including rent, payment schedules, inclusions and other details.

 

17 Oct 2017

DAMAC’s Just Cavalli Villas in Record Sell-Out

Damac Properties, a leading luxury real estate developer in the region, has announced the complete sell-out of all units in Phase One of Just Cavalli villas at its golf development, Akoya Oxygen, in Dubai.

Just Cavalli villas were borne out of a recent collaboration between Damac Properties and the Roberto Cavalli Group to launch the world’s first villas to feature interiors with the “Just Cavalli” signature-style, said a statement from the developer.

Located in one of Dubai’s most prestigious golf communities, the luxury villas perfectly embody the designer’s bold and iconic styling and ethos, with exotic and innovative interiors complemented by daring exteriors.

To cater to the strong investor interest, Damac Properties has announced the release of additional units for sale, it stated.

Priced from Dh1.3 million ($353,867) with an easy payment plan over three years, the latest collection of Just Cavalli villas will go on sale on October 21, across all of Damac’s sales offices in Dubai from 10am till 10pm, said the Dubai developer in its statement.

For a limited period only, Damac Properties has made it even more attractive for customers by waiving 50 per cent of the DLD registration fees, with customers set to save Dh26,000 or more, depending on the unit they choose, it added.

Niall McLoughlin, the senior vice-president of Damac Properties, said: “Our unique Just Cavalli product has been a tremendous success, drawing interest from investors and end-users who appreciate the novelty of bespoke products and premium location within a golf community, recognising great value for such properties.”

“Due to popular demand, we are pleased to release new units for those customers who missed the opportunity the first time,” he stated.

Just Cavalli villas are available in a variety of configurations and sizes including three-bedroom options that offer additional choice with rooftop terraces and unique lower ground floors that provide additional recreational or utility space for the family.

A standalone six-bedroom option is also available for larger families who seek additional space. The villas feature separate living/dining area and kitchen and have access to the community’s Just Cavalli gym equipped with modern equipment, kids play area, multi court, barbeque area and outdoor cinema.

“The success of the first phase demonstrates the commitment of Damac to deliver dream homes and unparalleled lifestyles. As the pioneer in the branded real estate space in Dubai, we are proud of the associations we have forged with prestigious global brands to bring aspirational living concepts to customers who seek it,” remarked McLoughlin.

“Not only do they offer a unique and iconic style, Just Cavalli villas also present great value for money and are priced competitively for properties that have signature elements and touches from a major fashion house,” he added.

Set within Akoya Oxygen, these villas will also have access to the many amenities on offer in the master development including nature-inspired facilities, gourmet fare, retail boutiques, its own rainforest and an 18-hole international golf club.

17 Oct 2017

Dubai rents at 3-year low: Time to move to a bigger house?

Average rentals in Dubai continued to decline in the third quarter of the year, with average rents for a studio apartment falling to below Dh50,000 for the first time in three years, fresh data shows.

According to property consultancy CBRE’s MarketView report for the third quarter of 2017, Dubai’s average rentals have declined by 1.5 per cent from the previous quarter even as there were some notable variations in performances at a sub-market level.

Looking for an apartment in Dubai? Start your search here

MarketView data shows that average prices for a one-bedroom unit in Dubai are now below Dh70,000, a two-bedroom unit will set you back by less than Dh100,000 while an average three-bedroom now goes for under Dh140,000, all at a three-year low.

A quick scan of PropertyFinder.ae data by Khaleej Times shows that studios in Dubai can be rented for as low as Dh25,000 per year or Dh2,084 per month.

Several studio apartments in Dubai’s International City area being offered for rent for less than Dh30,000 per annum (Dh2,500 per month).

One-bedroom apartments, on the other hand, start at Dh36,000 per annum (Dh3,000 per month) in Dubai’s Barsha South and Al Nahda areas, with some landlords even offering to pay the monthly utility bill as incentives for prospective tenants.

Rentals for two-bedroom apartments in Dubai start at Dh42,000 per annum (Dh3,500 per month) in Muhaisnah and Dh46,000 per year (Dh3,834 per month) in Al Nahda area.

Low rents, however, are not a deterrent for prospective investors as the number of transactions in Dubai’s residential markets is on an upswing.

According to CBRE, data from the Dubai Land Department shows that the total value of residential transactions increased by approximately 11 per cent in H1 over the same period last year, driven by growth in overall transaction numbers, which rose by close to 29 per cent.

However, average sales prices experienced a minor dip, falling by around 1 per cent. “The disparity between rising deal volumes and the performance of the leasing sector, demonstrates how investors appear to be taking a longer-term view on the residential market, looking beyond softening rentals and focusing on the availability of attractive prices and the increased flexibility of payment plans offered across both completed and off-plan projects,” said Mat Green, Head of Research & Consulting UAE, CBRE Middle East.

Future supply levels continue to grow, with an array of new projects announced during the quarter, including a new joint venture between Meydan and Sobha Group, ‘The Residences’ in Mohammed Bin Rashid City, Nakheel’s ‘Palm Residences’, and Wasl’s new flagship development ‘Wasl One’ located in Al Kifaf area.

16 Oct 2017

Dubai home below Dh1 million? I will buy

All the action in the Dubai property sector is transpiring in the under-Dh1 million price market. Not only does this signify an effort by developers to tap the mid-income market segment but also the willingness of banks to finance more end-users.

According to GCP Properties, in terms of expected supply that has been announced, 37 per cent is below the Dh1,000 per square foot while 45 per cent of the property transactions conducted since 2015 have been below the Dh1 million mark.

“This suggests that there has not only been a definitive shift in the part of developers to cater to this latent demand, this shift has also met with success as Dubai moves its focus to cater to the more mid-income segment of the demand curve,” says Hussain Alladin, head of research at GCP Properties.

In terms of new supply, a majority of off-plan units being launched is below Dh1 million, mostly apartments and townhouses.

Most off-plan transactions in this price range is concentrated in areas such as Dubai South, Al Furjan, Town Square, Jumeirah Village Circle, Jumeirah Village Triangle, MBR City, Akoya and Akoya Oxygen. Emaar, Dubai South, Azizi, Damac, Nshama and Danube are only some of the developers offering properties in this price point.

“The most popular off-plan transaction is a 1-bed in Dubai South with an average sale price of Dh583,000, followed very closely by a 2-bed in Dubai South with an average sale price of Dh860,000,” informs Lynnette Abad, partner and head of Property Monitor.

The sub-Dh1 million mark is mostly made up of studios and one bedrooms, and to this extent, there is supply in more upscale areas such as Dubai Marina, Business Bay and Meydan. It is only when you look at two bedrooms and above, does the number of communities shrink.

Meanwhile, if you are looking to buy a ready property on the secondary market below Dh1 million, consider communities such as Discovery Gardens, International City, Dubai Sports City, Silicon Oasis, IMPZ, Dubai Investments Park, Al Khail Heights, Jumeirah Village and areas in Dubailand that include Liwan, Majan, Arjan and Dubai Residential Complex.

“The average apartment sale in Discovery Gardens is Dh706,000 for a 1-bed and Dh494,000 for a studio,” adds Abad.

In areas such as Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Lakes Towers, there are a lot of ready units available below Dh1 million, according to Lewis Allsopp, CEO, Allsopp & Allsopp.

“There are also off-plan options on the Palm Jumeirah that you can buy for under Dh1 million as well as in Dubai Hills, Dubai Creek, Business Bay and JLT,” he adds.

However, anecdotal evidence suggests that it is still mostly investors who are picking up homes below Dh1 million.

“The biggest challenge to date is for an end-user to come up with a 25 per cent down payment. If developers can create a scheme which caters to this group, whether it’s through a rent-to-own option etc, they will capture a very large end-user market which has been yearning to purchase property in Dubai,” observes Abad.

Although end-users are buying properties where the developer offers attractive payment plans, activity is expected to pick up considerably once the properties are handed over and buyers can get banks to finance 75 per cent of the purchase.

“The challenge has always been for end users to obtain financing. Banks have become more willing to provide financing, and this is reflected in the mortgage statistics. Mortgage transactions have risen from 20 per cent of overall activity in 2012 to more than 55 per cent in 2017. Nonetheless, demand will be even higher should financing conditions ease further,” reckons Alladin.

Besides the down payment, end-users must also pay several processing fees during their property purchase.

“We’re talking approximately 32 per cent of the property value, once we consider bank fees also. It’s a lot of money for people to be able to save up

17 Oct 2017

Are you a retired expat? Here’s how you can continue living in UAE

I have been living in the UAE for the past 42 years and will retire from my banking job in November after I turn 60. I bought a property in Dubai Lagoon in 2007 as it was known then that I will be provided with a visa for owning a property in Dubai, a rule which was changed later.

Is there any rule to provide visa for a senior resident who has been staying in the country for 43 years? Can you give some suggestions to continue living here with my family?

Pursuant to the first part of your question, it may be noted that upon cancellation of your employment visa, you will have a grace period of 30 days to exit the country. And, in order to continue to reside in the country, your visa will have to be sponsored by a legal entity, as a partner if you become a partner in any legal entity incorporated in the UAE. Apart from this there are no specific rules of either the Federal Government of UAE or the Government of Dubai, by which a senior resident may be provided with a visa to reside in the UAE.

You have mentioned that you had purchased a property in Dubai Lagoon. Pursuant to this it may be noted that you still may explore the possibility of obtaining a property related residence visa upon its completion, subject to the regulations of the General Directorate of the Residency and Foreigners Affairs.

Alternatively, you may consider establishing or incorporating a corporate entity in the UAE. Pursuant to the same, the entity may sponsor visas for you and your family members. In view of this, you may either consider to incorporate a limited liability company or a professional licence. Otherwise you may also consider incorporating a company in any of the free zones in the UAE.

Ban can be lifted

I have been working as business analyst with an entity in Dubai drawing a monthly salary of Dh10,000 for the last four months. My employment contract is of limited duration and the company does not belong to free-zone. I hold a post-graduate diploma equivalent to Master of Business Administration. Will I be banned if I switch over to a new company before completing my employment contract? How can I avoid the ban?

Pursuant to your question, it may be noted that an employment ban may get imposed on an employee who may terminate his employment with his employer and thereafter seek to take up employment with another mainland entity, before the completion of the employment contract period with his first employer. During the pendency of the labour ban, a new work permit may not be issued to the employee by the Ministry of Labour of UAE for a period of up to six months.

Since you are working under a limited period contract, it may be noted that should you try to take up another employment before the completion of two years of continuous service or before the completion of your employment contract, a labour ban may be imposed on you.

However, it may be noted that if a labour ban gets imposed on an individual, the same may also be lifted in accordance with the provisions of Ministerial Order No. 1186 of 2010 on “Rules and Conditions of Granting a New Work Permit to an Employee after Termination of the Work Relationship in Order to Move from One Establishment to Another” (the “Ministerial Order”).

In view of the provisions of the Ministerial Order, it may be noted that after the completion of two years of continuous service, an employee may not have to face an employment ban in accordance with Article 2 of the Ministerial Order, which states:

“The following two conditions must be met in order to grant the work permit mentioned in Article (1) of this resolution:

1. Agreement between the employee and the employer to conclude the work relationship.

2. The employee must have spent at least two years with the employer.”

Pursuant to the foregoing, if you may secure a no-objection letter from your current employer, no employment ban should be imposed on you.

Further, it may also be noted that employment bans are not imposed, if after termination of an existing employment contract, one is subsequently offered a salary prescribed for one’s professional qualifications. Since you are holding a post-graduate qualification equivalent to the degree of ‘Masters of Business Administration’, the minimum salary that should be offered by your new employer must be at least Dh12,000, so as to lift the employment ban, should it be imposed on you.

Further, it may be noted that employment ban issued by the Ministry of Labour may not be applicable for entities established and operating in free zones of UAE. Also it may be noted that individuals holding certain professional qualifications may not be imposed an employment ban. This is in accordance with the provisions of Article 2 of the “Ministerial Order No (13) of 1991 Resolution: The organisation of the transfer of sponsorships of non-national labours the rules governing same” which states as follows:

“Non-national labourers may be allowed to transfer one job to another and hence the transfer of their sponsorship if they fall under the following categories:

(a) Engineers

(b) Doctors, pharmacists, nurses (male and female)

(c) Agricultural guides

(d) Qualified accountants and account auditors

(e) Qualified administrative officials

(f) Technician operating on electronic equipment and laboratories

(g) Drivers who are licensed to drive heavy vehicles and buses

(in case of transfer of sponsorship from a private firm to another or from a private firm to another or to a government department).”

Among the other professions mentioned above, you may take note of ‘qualified administrative officials’. And pursuant to the same, you may contact the Ministry of Labour, and enquire if your professional and academic qualifications would qualify you as a qualified administrative official. And based on this, you may also enquire if this would suffice to have a labour ban lifted in the event a labour ban is imposed on you.

14 Oct 2017

Checking the pulse of the Dubai real estate market

It would be fair to say that this year’s Cityscape Global, the Gulf region’s largest real estate show, approached amid a mixed forecast.

On the one hand, developers had some reason for optimism. First half figures from Dubai Land Department showed a 16.8 per cent increase in the total value of real estate transactions conducted during the first half of 2017 compared to the same period last year. On the other hand there was the continued pressure on the market highlighted by real estate consultancy firms.

In a second quarter report released days before the conference, Cluttons said residential values in Dubai were down 1.5 per cent in the second quarter and 5.8 per cent year-on-year, marking the 12th consecutive quarter of price declines.

Elsewhere, an annual sentiment survey by Core Savills revealed that only 34 per cent of respondents believed the Dubai property market had shown signs of recovery compared to 50 per cent last year.

Despite this apparent negative outlook there was some degree of optimism among developers, even if Dubai’s biggest name – Emaar Properties – had decided to abandon the conference entirely in favour of digital channels.

Even before the event started, Nakheel announced Dhs4bn ($1.08bn) of projects ranging from the 2,500-apartment Jenan Heights community in Discovery Gardens to a new mall, the 250-unit Palm Beach Residences, 170 villas in Jumeirah Park and a 252-room hotel in Jumeirah Village Circle.

And the launches only continued in the build-up to the show.

The authority behind Dubai Expo 2020 unveiled plans for a district utilising the event site featuring 65,000 square metres of residential space, 10km of bike paths, 44,900 square metres of parkland and 135,000sqm of office space. This was followed by Dubai-based real estate joint venture RKM Durar Properties’ unveiling of the pearl-inspired Dhs650m ($176.9m) J One towers development, and announcements only seemed to get more extravagant as the show entered its first day.

Among the largest was unveiled by Union Properties, which announced a new Dhs8bn ($2.18bn) master plan for MotorCity and a development and construction deal with China State Construction Engineering Corporation.

Union Properties chairman Nasser Butti Omair bin Yousef told Gulf Business the intention was for the community to be a “fully smart city” that has everything including villas right next to the track of Dubai Autodrome.

“If you go to Melbourne, Australia, the most expensive mansions are around the track. “We have to take advantage, you’ll find it not relaxing to be beside the track but other people will love it,” he said.

Then there was of course the unveiling of what was claimed to be the world’s first underwater luxury vessel resort by property developer Kleindienst Group.

Valued at Dhs2.5bn ($680m), The Floating Venice will be located in The World islands, 4km offshore from Dubai and close to the company’s other Heart of Europe Project where it will handover the first three islands next year.

venice-aerial

Josef Kleindienst, CEO of the Kleindienst Group, told Gulf Business that the project was in part inspired by the success of the developer’s Floating Seahorse villas and 180 of the 414 units would be underwater.

He said the project had a “realistic chance” of being ready before in time for Expo 2020 but the company would need to engage boat builders to promply start work on the different sections to be put together on location.

“The Heart of Europe is big enough to stay as a standalone project independent of what neighbours are doing,” he said of the lack of progress by other
owners on the World Islands.

“Now we are already building a second project on the World Islands and if there is demand it will not be the last one.”

Off-plan dominates

Among the drivers of many of these new projects has been optimism in the off-plan segment, where attractive sales plans have driven interest.

“There is a bit of a disconnect between how the sales market performs and how the rental market performs,” says Mat Green, head of research and consulting at CBRE Middle East.

“There is a lot of off-plan property still being launched, there is still an appetite for investors for those types of properties. But again there are different mentalities. These kinds of investors, as opposed to up the risk curve, they’re looking for future growth within capital values.”

This interest was clearly on display at Cityscape where developers were allowed to make sales for UAE-based projects on the show floor for the first time in years.

Consultant firm Cavendish Maxwell estimated that there were 107 off-plan units sold on the first day of Cityscape this year from 36 last year thanks in part to attractive payment plans and low starting price points.

Several developers announced significant transactions during the show including Abu Dhabi’s Aldar, which generated Dhs400m ($108.8m) of sales for its Water’s Edge development and sold out the first phase at Cityscape.

Azizi Developments also sold out phase one of its Dhs12bn ($3.26bn) waterfront project Azizi Riviera and said 50 per cent of phase two was also snapped up by investors.

Azizi is an example of one of the newer kids on the block in the Dubai property market that are now competing for sales with the traditional players.

“We have seen a lot of supply of new off-plan products and we’ve seen also good momentum of sales happening. Now, the little bit of challenge or the thing we didn’t see before is having more and more players into the market and more and more supply,” Deyaar CEO Saeed Al Qatami told Gulf Business.

But the CEO insisted the major launches announced at the event, like the company’s Dhs1bn ($272.2m) South Bay tower in Business Bay, would continue so long as there was buyer interest.

“People are buying and believe me we will stop, you will see some of the deliveries stop, only if they don’t get sales. But as long sales are still going you’ll see new products coming up.”

Other developers too appeared to agree with this conclusion.

“Overall we are doing fine,” said Dubai Properties’ executive director for sales Marwan Al Kindi.

“The kids are back to school and people are also back to work and we are very optimistic for this quarter. This year is that chance for all the developers to bring the best and push the market up.”

With this said though, few are expecting a major upturn in conditions next year.

“I think things will stay at the same level, I don’t think it will lower more and I don’t think it will get worse or reduce,” says Deyaar’s Al Qatami.

CBRE’s Green also suggests sale prices are unlikely to show much sign of movement until wider economic conditions improve.

“Honestly, I don’t expect a lot of variation in sales performance over the next 12 months reflective of overall investor sentiment and the health of the regional economy. Any big major event like a sudden increase in oil prices or equivalent positive or negative outlook could obviously swing that.”

But one potential change on the horizon could be a shift back towards the secondary market from a current emphasis on off-plan sales.

motor-city-project

The Motorcity Project

Murray Strang, head of Cluttons Dubai, suggested that even if the headline sales and rentals numbers are contracting there are positive signs ahead, with average apartment prices expected to end the year almost flat on 2016 compared to a 10 per cent decline for villas.

Of the 32 markets the company tracks in Dubai, 25 have seen no change in values in the first six months of the year. Some markets, like Jumeirah Islands and MotorCity are also only a few percentage points off of their previous highs in 2008 even if others like the Palm Jumeirah are still more than 30 per cent lower.

“There are positive signs that softening is reducing and we’re talking about a move back towards the secondary market from what has been a very strong off-plan sales market over the last two to three years,” Strang said.

Cluttons predicts the market will flatten out or see some growth next year but much will depend on expectations for Expo 2020 and whether it will match the hype built up in recent years.

Ahead of the mega event, developers and agents will have other factors to contend with including value added tax, which comes into effect on January 1, 2018.

Much of the impact is expected to be in the commercial segment, where the 5 per cent rate will be paid on all sales and leasing, and Strang believes net sales prices and rents “will need to come down” to match.

Less clear is the forecast for the residential market.

“It will not affect us,” said Union Properties’ Yousef of a potential increase in inflation. “It will not harm the market.”

But others argue there could be consequences for developers making off-plan sales, as they will be able to claim a rebate on construction costs only if they are able to sell the development three years after completion.

“If they fail to do so they can’t claim a rebate so you might see better payment plans coming through extended well into handover,” said Faisal Durrani, head of research at Cluttons.

“It’s a challenging market and convincing people to buy off-plan is difficult and so I expect we’ll see more focus on providing property perceived to be a bit more affordable and developers will have to do better due diligence to understand the market before bringing schemes through.”

Digital dilemma

Another change for developers moving forwards will be an increasing emphasis on digital processes and sales.

Dubai Land Department used this year’s conference to launch a multi-platform application that helps investors and developers track the progress of all real estate development projects in the emirate.

A number of panel sessions also focussed on the use cases for bitcoin database technology blockchain in real estate transactions. Not forgetting of
course Emaar’s absence from the conference altogether “as part of the strategy to move the complete marketing strategy on digital platforms”.

Although the developer does not appear to be encouraging a movement as of yet, with Dubai Properties’ Al Kindi insistent the firm remained committed to the event due to the “good sales, good numbers” it receives, others wondered what the impact would be for the market going forward.

“The way I see it is over time lets face it everything will be digital, everything is moving to binary code,” said Ann Boothelo, senior product marketing manager at listings site dubizzle.com.

“When something gets digitised it grows exponentially but the need for physical interaction will always be there. It just depends at what stage of the purchase process or rent process.”

These and other predictions will be tested as Cityscape returns next year.

 

14 Oct 2017

Solar Cities

Nestled along the waterfront in the Nordhavn neighbourhood of Denmark’s capital city sits a very special building. The Copenhagen International School is coated from top to toe with solar photovoltaic (PV) cells, making it one of the largest buildings of its kind anywhere in the world. Seamlessly integrated into the building’s 6,000 square metre glass facade, the cells produce around 300 megawatt hours per year of electricity, around half the school’s annual power demand. And this in a Northern European city not noted for its sunny climate.

Somewhat surprisingly, while the solar component was made in Switzerland, the 12,000 KromatixTM coloured glass panels used in the building’s construction were manufactured and supplied by Emirates Insolaire, a subsidiary of Dubai Investments in joint venture with SwissINSO Holding. And yet, even though a significant portion of this innovative technology is manufactured in Dubai, Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) has yet to be deployed on a single major project in the emirate despite the optimal solar considtions in this part of the world.

While Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) allows solar panels to be installed on building rooftops under its Shams Dubai initiative, authorities here have yet to finalise the regulations governing the use of BIPV technology. But with the Dubai government’s strong track record of backing sustainability initiatives, experts predict it is only a matter of time before it gets the green light. In fact a number of high profile projects announced over the past year have already been earmarked to pioneer BIPV technology in the region.

Anoop Babu is a BIPV solar expert with Intec, part of Germanybased GOPA -International Energy


“THIS IS GOING TO BE A VERY FAST MOVING INDUSTRY IN THE COMING YEARS”


Consultants. Anoop is also a local representative for the Association of Solar Architects (ASA), an advocacy group for the worldwide deployment of BIPV technology, who has been advising local authorities currently drafting a set of BIPV regulations.

Though DEWA is the main entity charged with forming the regulations, they must also meet requirements laid down by Dubai Municipality and Dubai Civil Defence (DCD).

Meanwhile, other parts of the world, mainly in North America and Europe, have been forging ahead with the deployment of BIPV, even in heavily congested urban environments like New York City. In Europe, by 2020 every building will be mandated to generate some energy of its own, with BIPV offering one obvious solution to that challenge.

IDEAL FOR THE MIDDLE EAST

You might assume that using BIPV technology would multiply the cost of a building facade by a factor of two or three but this is not the case, says Anoop. Integrating the cells into a building’s windows and facades adds around 30-40% to the cost and can pay for itself in as little as two to three years, depending on the electricity tariff system used.

“There’s a misconception that BIPV is more expensive than it really is,” says Anoop. “In the UAE if you go for a normal glass façade the EPC price would be around AED 1,500 – 2,000 per square metre. BIPV will cost around 2,000 – 3,000 per square metre so that’s an additional 30-40%. Many people still assume it is even more expensive, double or triple the cost.”

In some parts of the world, for example in North America, the Feed in Tariff (FiT) for BIPV is higher than for regular rooftop solar in order to encourage developers to roll out the technology. Anoop believes the authorities here should also consider offering incentives to help speed up deployment.

“Next year VAT is coming in and companies might start holding back on investing in solar,” he says. “Solar is exempt from VAT in some parts of the world so we’ve suggested to DEWA implementing a tax benefit that might


“THERE’S A MISCONCEPTION THAT BIPV IS MORE EXPENSIVE THAN IT REALLY IS”


encourage people to invest.”

Architects need to be involved in BIPV projects from the very start which is why using the technology is more practical for buildings at the design stage rather than a retrofitting job, Anoop says. In terms of maintenance BIPV is just like any other window or façade. However building owners opting for integrated PV will need to consider how they keep their facades clean as desert dust can hinder the solar cells from operating at maximum efficiency.

“There are technologies nowadays that have the ability to keep off the soiling, for example pv panels which prevent dust from clinging to the surface,” Anoop says.

THE TIME IS NOW

The region is very much ready for BIPV, Anoop says. There has already been plenty of interest in its potential but developers are waiting for regulations to be announced.

“They have to do this if they want to really get the benefit of alternative energy and renewables because they have so much facade space,” he says. “Tall buildings don’t have much roof space but they have lots of facade space.”

The suitability of a building for BIPV depends on how much sun the west, east and south facades of the building receive. For example, a high rise building in a densely packed city might have other nearby buildings blocking out the sun. For smaller buildings this can also be a problem if there are high rise buildings nearby.

“We do analysis and irradiance mapping and identify which areas of a building should have BIPV,” Anoop says. “In general, it works best for buildings with large areas that can be covered with BIPV. Malls work well because many of them, Mall of the Emirates for example, don’t have any high rise buildings around them.” So how long might it take before BIPV technology is used as standard in this part of the world?

“Once the first two or three projects are live and have proven to be successful it might well become mandated,” Anoop says. “Shams Dubai plays very well with warehouses and carports but many building developers get minimal benefit from Shams Dubai because most of them don’t have that kind of rooftop or parking area. Property developers will get more benefit from BIPV.”

He adds: “This is going to be a very fast moving industry in the coming years. There are many companies with their eyes on this market. They’re just waiting for the regulations.”

11 Oct 2017

In pursuit of perfection

Stephen Atherton, design director at Sobha Group goes back a long way with the company’s founder and chairman, PNC Menon. Based at the time in Muscat overseeing his interior fit out company, Menon recruited the Englishman in 1991 to set up his first office in Dubai. An interior designer by profession, Atherton eventually left to set up his own design studio, but after the pair bumped into each other again in 2012 the entrepreneur persuaded him to return to the fold and help set up a new design outfit.

“When I joined in 2013 the original idea was to set up an interiors company,” says Atherton. “The chairman is very interiors driven, he tends to design things from the inside out. What I do now is work for him at corporate level looking at developing the brief and working with the design teams and the marketing teams, so I’m basically a trouble shooter across all aspects of design within the group.”

PNC Menon’s rags to riches story is well known. He arrived in Oman from Kerala, India in 1976 with pennies in his pocket but eventually succeeded in setting up an interior decoration company, growing it into one of the top contractors in Oman. In the 1990s he saw an opportunity to start up a property development business that today is the third largest in India. Not content with standing still, in 2013 he launched in the Dubai market with two major developments – Sobha Hartland and Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City – District One, a joint venture with Meydan.

A vertically integrated company, Sobha does more or less everything in house. It has its own architecture practice, its own structural and mechanical engineering departments, as well as a huge team of landscape, interior, furniture and graphic designers. Though it sells its units unfurnished, for some of its higher ticket villas the company designed much of the furniture and had it made in Italy. Sobha is currently in the process of setting up a new furniture division that will offer a complete end-to-end interior solution, Atherton reveals. The company expects to open a 1 million sq ft factory in Abu Dhabi’s Kizad freezone in the third quarter of 2019.

“We want to control most things in our world and there’s a very good reason for that,” Atherton says. “We can only pin our flag to the quality of our product if we control it from end to end. That’s why we are a vertically integrated organisation.”


“WE CAN ONLY PIN OUR FLAG TO THE QUALITY OF OUR PRODUCT IF WE CONTROL IT FROM END TO END”


The evolution of Sobha Group into a vertically integrated entity was born out of necessity, Atherton explains. “When the chairman set up the business in India in 1993/94 he wanted to build to international standards. But, for example, the quality of the concrete available wasn’t very good so he decided to set up a concrete company. He couldn’t get materials of the right quality so decided to make them himself. It was really born out of the need to deliver on the promise of quality.”

The quality and attention to detail that Sobha has become known for stems from the company’s origin as in the interior fit out business in Oman.

“We used to do palaces all over the world for people like the Sultan of Brunei, rulers in Turkmenistan, his highness Sultan Qaboos of Oman and the Dubai ruling family, so he’s at the top of the tree when it comes down to doing quality fit out,” Atherton says.

At the 8 million sq ft Sobha Hartland development, quality is assured by a team of 17 German master craftsmen who meticulously check every detail of every job done by the in house contracting teams. “We maintain standards in the business through each and every process,” Atherton says. “For example Sobha Hartland is the first development to have a push fit plumbing system. It’s a Japanese system that doesn’t involve any compression fittings or welding, you just literally push the fittings together and it creates almost a homogenous seal on the pipe so we are going to be leak free.


“THE CHAIRMAN IS VERY INTERIORS DRIVEN, HE TENDS TO DESIGN THINGS FROM THE INSIDE OUT”


It’s expensive but as the chairman says, as property developers water can be our biggest enemy.”

A HIGH-END FINISH

Though Sobha Hartland is a huge project made up of apartments, townhouses and villas of different sizes and price tags, Atherton says the development manages to achieve an overarching design style.

“There’s no theming or pastiche architecture here,” he says. “It’s a very contemporary development by nature. You’ve got third party developers on site, like Gemini and others who are buying tracts of land but we issue very stringent design guidelines. So it does have a strong design identity to it.”

Quality is not a something Sobha compromises on. Whether it’s a studio apartment or a six bedroom mansion, the approach to the project is exactly the same, Atherton says.

“Our smallest and cheapest product has the same detailed checks and quality of installation going into it as our largest product. There are variances in terms of materials because of the size and ticket price, but that’s mainly in the finish. In terms of approach it’s one and the same. There’s only one way to build for us and that’s the best way you can.”

All units at Sobha Hartland are equipped with smart home technology. Buyers have the option of a basic home automation system that enables them to control lighting and air conditioning or they can go for a complete smart home technology system.

“We brought in a team of experts that worked with us for a year to scour the earth to find something that would do what we wanted it to,” says Atherton. “It’s effectively a brain that controls the audio visual, lighting, air conditioning and curtains and it all runs off your iPad or you’re iPhone,” says Atherton. It comes at a cost however. The full package for a two bedroom apartment will set owners back a cool AED 250,000.

One of the striking design features of the Sobha Hartland development is undoubtedly the amount of green space it provides residents. Around 30% of the development has been given back to green areas.


“I WOULD CHALLENGE ANYBODY TO SAY THAT THE LANDSCAPING HERE AT HARTLAND CAN BE TOUCHED”


“I would challenge anybody to say that the landscaping here at Hartland can be touched,” says Atherton. “We have our own in house landscape architects and we work with external landscape architects who we bring in to brainstorm just to make sure we’re getting the best out of our land. We even have our own horticulturalist and an onsite plant nursery.”

He continues: “The spaces in between our buildings are as important as the places we build. I’ve had numerous meetings with our design team and our chairman and we show him landscape designs and he says, ‘not enough trees’. We want greenery, we want the lushness and we’re constantly looking at managing that from a water consumption perspective and how we recycle grey water. We are constantly balancing our responsibility as developers with the environment versus the commercial side.”

When it comes to sustainability Sobha tries to deliver above and beyond minimum requirements, but as Atherton says those efforts must be balanced with the commercial demands of a project.

“As a developer we look at what we must do and what we’re compelled to do by law,” he says. “Things like LED lighting as standard was something that I implemented with Mr Menon early on. Incandescent lights are of the past and not what we want to see moving forward, so we try very hard in terms of our engineering to be as green as we can so we’re probably ahead of the market.

“Are we LEED platinum? No. We’re looking at a signature development at the moment and we’re looking to go LEED platinum with that, but it doesn’t apply itself to every project. So sustainability is considered as much as possible but at the end of the day we’re a commercial entity and it’s got to make sense.”

11 Oct 2017

Who we are

The team, at Chii Richtown, comprises indigenous experts in renting, selling and managing commercial properties and villas in Dubai, UAE. Established in 2006, the company has over a decade of experience in tracking new property developments and estimating trends in prime market areas that help clients in meeting their requirements. We are currently selling and leasing out properties in all areas of Dubai.We strongly believe if you have a requirement for a home or office space, we will help you find it!

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