It is still too early to say what the new real estate law holds (as a full copy hasn’t been circulated as yet) but it will certainly be affecting landlords.
On the positive side the press release on the law seems to suggest that there will be a central property register for landlords. Currently Abu Dhabi Municipality holds the register for property owned by UAE nationals and the individual developers hold the registers for Investment Zone property. The new register should mean that owners can get a form of title deed for their units, and that when they come to sell them (or buy new units) the developer won’t be able to charge them an arbitrary registration fee (currently anywhere between 1-3%).
Also very positively there seems to be provision for the establishment for owners’ associations. Owners’ associations would allow owners to form organisations to manage their own communities. This would make property managers more sensitive to owners’ needs and reduce costs (some complain that currently developers make money from charging exorbitant community fees).
On the down side for landlords it seems that a rental index will be instituted which will regulate the amount owners can raise rents by. This will mean that landlords won’t be able to take full advantage of market rate increases in rents and may be stuck with tenants paying low amounts for some time. The current state of the market however should mean that this won’t impact landlords too much, these sorts of rules are most punishing when in place at the bottom of a market just before a rally in rents.
The market currently is in a mature stage of the cycle where rents are likely to appreciate only modestly for the next three years.
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