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DIFC Will and Inheritance and Sharia Law

The principal source of law of inheritance in UAE is Shariah Law. In addition, main laws governing succession in United Arab Emirates are Federal Law Number 5 of 1985 concerning the Civil Transactions Code (the Civil Law) and Federal Law Number 28 of 2005 regarding the Personal Status Law (the Personal Law).

So, what happens to the family and the assets of the deceased in the UAE? This is the question which troubles most of the expats residing in UAE. Since Dubai is a hub for foreign investments, and Real Estate sector attracts major investments, therefore the Government of Dubai makes sure that the rights of the non – Muslims are safe guarded and their investments are safe.

DIFC Wills and Probate Registry

The DIFC Wills and Probate Registry as a public entity of the Dubai Government and an ancillary body of the DIFC’s Dispute Resolution Authority offers, since May 2015 have been introduced for non – Muslim expats living in Dubai.

This service allows non-Muslims a greater choice in determining how their assets in the Emirate of Dubai are to be distributed and in appointing guardians for their minor children residing in one Dubai following their death. For a DIFC Will registration, the following four key criteria are to be met:

  • The Testator is not a Muslim and has never been a Muslim.
  • Testator is over 21 years of age.
  • The Testator owns assets in the Emirate of Dubai (however no requirement to be resident in the UAE).
  • Any children for which the Testator wishes to appoint interim and/or permanent guardians for must be habitually resident in the Emirate of Dubai.

In case of absence of any Will registration in the DIFC by the expat, under such circumstances if the expat dies then the distribution of the assets of the deceased shall be done as per the Sharia Law, unless the Expat has a will in their home country and that show the distribution of their assets. The Will from the Home country would need to be attested and presented to the court and it is up to the court whether they will accept the validity of the Will.

The DIFC wills can finally promote certainty among expatriates, promote investment in Dubai and avoid family members becoming involved in uncertain proceedings that can be encountered in the UAE courts. To the relief of expat families in Dubai is that provisions for guardianship of minor children can be included.

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For further details on managing your current properties portfolio in Dubai or property investments advice feel free to contact us.

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What is Mollak System?

Dubai Land Department, through its regulatory arm Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA), has launched a first-of-its-kind e-system called Mollak, the Arabic word for Owners. Mollak regulates jointly owned properties, service charges and monitor the payment of service charges in jointly-owned properties in Dubai.

Mollak provides a new and integrated system to regulate, monitoring accounts related to service charges and providing support services for all parties involved in Jointly owned properties in Dubai.

Mollak, A New System

As the entire system is new, a lot of clients find the new invoices confusing that they are receiving from the Mollak system. They unsure on what they should be doing with the invoices, and why the invoices are so high, and why in a space of a few minutes they have received invoices that keep increasing.

Why are they receiving invoices from Dubai Land Dept, is something wrong? Is everything ok? The Mollak system is the Owner Association Management system by the Dubai Land Department. One of their purposes is a centralized invoicing system. The way it should have worked for the majority of clients is for 2020, the OA Manager i.e. Kingfield or Saga or ECM would have loaded the balances as of 2019 to the system.

How Mollak Works

Dubai Land Department RERA’s Mollak system is designed to issue 4 Invoices a year, i.e. one invoices each Quarter, so what would have happened if at the end of 2019, I had a balance of 4,000 on my account (i.e. unpaid services charges), than based on the finalized budget submitted by the OA Manager to the Land Department, i.e. 14 Dirhams for the above apartment, which is a 1,000 Sq Ft Apartment, which would make it 14,000 for the year. I would receive 3 invoices (They have mostly invoiced only for 2 or 3 quarters for now). My first bill, which would be for 1 January to 31st March would be for AED 7,500 (Balance 4,000 + 3,500 for Current Quarter), I would immediately receive another bill for 11,000 (4,000 + 3,500 + 3,500) and if I was invoiced for 3rd Quarter, I would get another bill for 14,500 (4,000 + 3,500 + 3500 + 3500).

A lot of people who have tried to pay the bill via the Mollak system need to note once the 3rd Quarter Invoice is issued the payment link for Quarter 1 and Quarter 2 are invalid and can no longer be used.  Please also note if you are paying the Service Charges online, via the Mollak System, it takes 2 -3 weeks to reconcile back to the OA Manager, if you pay to the OA Manager it takes a few days to update the Mollak system. In general clients need to be a little patient as there is a lot of overload on the OA Manager by unclear communication and people not fully understanding the system.

If you are looking for a property management company in Dubai who can manage your property and make life easier for you get in touch with us.

Dubai Property Expert Advice Blog

Planning to invest in Dubai Real Estate?? Minimize your…

What comes to mind of a first-time investor who has never invested in real estate? Fear?  they perceive it to be risky worried they will end up with unsustainable debt. Many worries as they are not well versed with the market movements and lack of knowledge of Dubai real estate market. In fact, investing in property is not a risky proposition, as long as the right steps are taking in terms of gathering information, work with the correct professional to ensure he is not rushing before taking the first step.

We at DREX have highlighted few points that can minimize the risks while investing in real estate in Dubai. We encourage our clients to consider them before taking the next step in property investments in Dubai real estate market.

Proper Research

The world has changed, with information now available on your fingertips and one can get insights about properties with easy clicks from the comfort of your home. Before moving further get more information on the developers / developments / areas. Which areas are popular, which developers have a good track record, read about developments and buildings?

Research what promotions are been offered by the developers i.e.Long-TermPayment Plan, Registration Fees Waiver, Service Charges Waivers. You can get more insight on various projects by connecting with an experienced real estate agent who has access to knowledge such as quality of work and average time taken to finish any project as well as the financials attached to any investments.

Try not to over Leverage yourself.

Make sure you have kept aside some funds before making an investment in property in Dubai which works as a buffer for you when there are unseen circumstances which arise such as delay in leasing the property or reselling. Only thought process for having extra funds is that in case of emergency you do not need to make hasty decisionsand your investments will give you good returns and you do not fall into the trap of short term downfalls which arise in the market.

Get the Advice of an Expert

One cannot become an expert only by researching online, as it gives you an idea about the property market, or in most cases confuses investors even more, with the variety of different options available.Talking to an expert helps guide you through the various

Clients sometimes want to save few dollars by not taking the advice or services of  professional real estate agents and mostly end up making the wrong decision.  An expert real estate agent is experienced and has a skill set which will help you in saving both time and money. The real estate expert will help you with his expertise to give you the guidance in property pricing, location, reputable developers, better payment plan options, negotiations skills that will help you make the right decision.

Always ensure the documentation is correct

Always ensure that you read and take advice of your expert real estate agent before signing any sales and purchase documents. Especially if you are a first-time buyer it’s better to consult an expert to help guide you through the agreements, as some of them run in 30 – 40 pages.

Don’t be too quick, but don’t take too long.

Many times it happens that while buying your dream house or investing for the first time you tend to make quick decisions without taking the advice of the real estate agent or doing a proper research and you end up being emotional and make the down payment which results in either making a huge loss as an investor or you end up paying more for the property, or not getting what you had anticipated. Be calculated and discuss it with your real estate agent before proceeding.

You may also end up taking so long that the property which was indeed a good deal is sold and you end up buying something that was not your first choice.

We hope this short article will be helpful, if you are interested to get more information about investing in Dubai property market and get advice from our expert real estate agents please feel free to contact us.

Real Estate in Dubai Blog

Covid-19 Impact on Dubai Real Estate. Is it the…

Global real estate market has taken a hit due to Covid-19 and real estate in Dubai is no different. March 2020 was the time when the actual impact of Covid-19 started to be felt in UAE. When Dubai went into lockdown to control the deadly virus, real estate sector in Dubai came to stand-still.

It did not last long thanks to the quick and effective measures taken by the government and Dubai Land Department. They introduced online approvals for buying and selling properties. There were guidelines which made the transactions safe and secure for both the buyer and the seller. Real estate portals and companies started using technology to overcome the issues. They showed the properties with the help of 360 virtual tours and sales meeting turned into virtual meetings.

The slowdown in the real estate sector did not last long and transactions gained momentum from June 2020 onwards. Sales volume as per the information shared by Dubai Land Department in May 2020 was worth AED 2.46 Billion. It recovered at a decent pace in June 2020 reaching AED 4.71 Billion, showing no signs of slowing down. The real estate in Dubai has always been and will remain as one of the fundamental of the country’s economy.

Right time to buy and invest in Dubai property

There is always one question in buyers mind! Is this the right time to buy and invest in Dubai property market or should one wait furthermore??

One cannot confirm or predict at this stage the extent of the global economic fallout from the current crisis. But seeing the present circumstances one can say that the prices of property in Dubai today have nearly reached the bottom. The promotions and additional payment facilities given by the developers in the current situation attracts the buyers as these will not last long enough and will be coming back to the normal terms and conditions as soon as the global economic situation starts showing sign of improvements.

The coming 2 quarters of 2020 will present lot of opportunities for buyers with options of long – term payment plans and investors who are seeking high rental yield will be benefiting from the present pricing in the market. As the Dubai Expo 2020 which is to be held in October 2021 property market will be showing a positive movement from 2021.

If you are interested in securing your future by investing and getting a steady income giving high returns year on year today is the time to invest in property in Dubai.

Feel free to get in touch with us to get a free real estate consultation.

Photo Credits: Aleksandar Pasaric from Pexels

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Can non-residents open a bank account in UAE

There can be plenty of reasons why a non-resident of UAE wants to open a bank account in the UAE like if they spend a significant amount of time in the UAE or if they get paid in dirhams quite often, or it can also be a part of their savings plan. Despite the various reasons, banks in the UAE provide a facility to open a saving account in their banks for non-residents as well.

Most of the banks in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, allow non-residents to open only a Savings Account and not a Current Account. Non-residents are not able to attain a cheque book however, non-residents will be given a debit card to withdraw the money. As a non-resident, will be subject to a minimum and/or maximum balance.

The approvals might take more time  as the documentations and procedures for opening a non – residents bank account are more tedious, and lot of verifications are done before approving it.

Few of the banks which entertain non – residents to open bank accounts are as below:

  1. Mashreq Bank
  2. Emirates NBD
  3. Noor Bank
  4. FAB (First Abu Dhabi Bank)

Documents required for opening a non – resident bank account

  • UAE Visit or Transit Visa 
  • 3-6 months bank statements of their home country 
  • Passport copy 
  • Latest Utility bills 
  • Reference letter from bankers of your home country 
  • Income proofs 

Apart from these, banks may request further documents depending on the applicant’s profile. 

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Gifting Property to a Relative

Mazhar owns a Two Bedroom apartment in Dubai Marina and wants to Gift the apartment to his Son and Daughter. Mazhar is not sure what is the process of Gifting and the related Fees for Gifting of the Apartment. Well, Mazhar is not alone in not knowing the process.

Eligibility for Gifting Property in UAE

  • Gifting can only be done to First Degree of Relatives. I.e. Children or Parents / Husband / Wife. You cannot Gift a Property between Brother / Sister / Cousins / Uncle ect.
  • A Gifted Property cannot be Gifted again. I.e. only one Gift is allowed for a Property. Next would be considered as a Sale.
  • The Person giving the Gift should be of a minimum age. The person receiving the Gift can be a minor.
  • Proof of relation is required. A UAE Attested Birth Certificate for Parents / Children or a Marriage Certificate for Husband / Wife.
  • Both the individual giving the Gift and Individual receiving the Gift must be present unless a Power of Attorney is held by either or a Third Party clearly mentioning the Ability to Gift and Receive / Accept a Gift.

 

Process of Gifting Real Estate in Dubai

  • Evaluation of Property is required. This can be done from any Trustee Office in Dubai or online if Registered. An up to date Affection Plan for the Property is required and a fee of 370 Dirhams is required for the Evaluation.
    • Evaluation Report will be emailed and put in the system. A physical report will not be generated.
  • No Objection Certificate from the Developer is Required. Please check NOC Requirements from the Developer, they sometimes requires an NOC from the Owner Association Company to ensure Service Charges are up to date.
  • Prepare a Manager Cheque in name of Land Department or have cash for 0.125% of the Evaluation Amount. i.e. Evaluation Amount is 2,000,000 than the Gift amount is 2500 Dirhams Plus 540 (Fixed Fee for Title Deed). Minimum fee to Land Department is 2,000, so if Evaluation is 1,000,000, the Land Dept Fee will be 2,000 (Not 1,250 as per the .125%)
  • Trustee Fee in Cash for either 2,100 or 4,200 depending on the Evaluation of the Property.
  • All parties be available at Trustee Office for the Gift / Transfer process and sign the necessary documents.
  • Title Deed issued in the name of the new Owner. It would include a line in bottom saying it was Gifted from the Individual who Gifted it.
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Can one leave UAE with an unsettled home mortgage?

Expats often leave UAE to return to their home country, or to move to greener pastures. What should they do about their unsettled mortgages?

In the past, many expats left UAE without formally settling their financial obligations, resulting in millions upon millions of losses to the banks. Naturally, this lead to more stringent laws and practices coming into force. One such practice, is that when the employer releases the last salary and final settlement of the employee, the employer transfers that payment to the bank marking it as ‘final salary’. This means that the bank should check if there are any outstanding loans, and freeze the account to recover the outstanding.

However, in the case of secured loans like mortgage the property still exists as security that the bank can foreclose in case of default, and hence the laws are comparatively relaxed.

We have heard about incidences where people being stopped at the airport and simply prevented from getting on a plane with debt! So, what should one do about the mortgage if they are moving out of UAE and returning to their home country, or moving elsewhere?

First off, can a person leave the UAE with a mortgage?

According to this Mortgage Finder post you can, depending on what terms and conditions of mortgage did you sign, so it would be highly advisable to, first, check those documents, and secondly to get some professional help.

Can my mortgage be converted to a non-resident mortgage?

Speak to your bank well before the need and situation arises so that you are better prepared. Some lenders might adjust the paperwork while others may also revisit the terms including the interest rates.

Can my bank account convert to non-resident account?

According to the post, you might have to continue your bank account in UAE in to continue to make payments on your mortgage but after converting to a non-resident account. Of course, any unsecured credit facilities on that account will discontinue. If your mortgage and bank account are in two different banks, then you should speak to both the bank.

And now the proverbial million-dollar question: What should I tell the bank?

A bank’s primary concern in the case of a secured loan is whether you will be able to continue timely mortgage repayments. If your plan can sufficiently demonstrate that, then it should be easy in all likelihood.

In the case of rental property if the current rent can cover the repayment, any applicable service charges, as well as cover for the vacant periods then that should sound like a plan.

If rental income is insufficient or not the plan, then you need to explain your income sources through which you will be covering the repayments that you will transfer from abroad.

What happens if the bank asks me to settle the mortgage before I can leave the country?

Although this is not usual, but if the bank does ask, then it can result in a 3% early settlement penalty on the balance amount, and the possible outcomes are:

  • Paying off the loan from whatever sources you may have.
  • Disposing off the asset by selling it, and using the proceeds to settle the outstanding amount, or
  • Finding a 3rd party lender who will refinance it by providing you a non-resident mortgage.

All in all, its best to be well prepared in advance by reading your contractual documents closing, and even asking these questions at the very start when you are still shopping around for the mortgage in the first place.

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Market Review of Dubai Holidays Homes Sector

According to Dubai Government’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), in 2018 Dubai had 15,920,000 international visitors, spending an average of 3.5 nights per stay, and the hospitality sector enjoyed 76% average hotel occupancy. Over the decades, Dubai’s tourism sector has always performed better

Ever since the introduction of vacation homes in Dubai, Dubai’s hospitality sector has come a long way. Airbnb register counts over 20,000 properties, with nearly Read more “Market Review of Dubai Holidays Homes Sector”