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DIFC Free Zone To Upgrade Real Estate Laws

by Lorys Charalambous, Lowtax.net, Cyprus
22 March, 2018

The Dubai International Financial Centre, the low-tax financial center, is proposing amendments to its real property and strata title laws and regulations, to bring them into line with international best practice.

The amendments are intended to create an enhanced regulatory environment to guarantee purchasers' title to property, whether acquired off-plan or on the secondary market, and to facilitate dealings with real property generally. The amendments are also intended to enhance the DIFC's laws relating to the establishment of strata developments and the management of corporation within those developments.

The key amendments to the DIFC's real property laws and regulations include new provisions introducing an off-plan sales regime; a carve out of certain provisions relating to landlord and tenant issues in order to deal with these in a separate leasing law, which the DIFC says will be enacted in due course; the addition of more detailed and comprehensive provisions regulating the registration of real property rights; and changed deadlines for registrations of real property transfers, with a partial mirroring of the onshore penalty regime for registration delays. In addition, the role of the Registrar of Real Property is clarified and its powers enhanced and expanded.

The proposed amendments to the strata title law and regulations include enhanced provisions relating to the powers and functions of the Registrar; enhanced legal status, licensing, and regulatory requirements for bodies corporate and the managers of such; new obligations on developers; and the abolition of the strata title board regime so that the DIFC's courts can hear appeals directly from interested parties against decisions or orders made by the Registrar.

A consultation paper and draft laws have been released for public comment and are available on the DIFC's website. The consultation period ends on April 15, 2018.

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