توافره يعالج أهم العوائق في سوق التمويل ال

Emarat Alyoum

Emarat Alyoum

‏‏‏توافره يعالج أهم العوائق في سوق التمويل العقاري ويعزز أداءها
خبراء: تأمين تعثر الديون العقارية شبه معدوم في الإمارات‏
إطلاق برامج للتأمين على القروض العقارية ولو جزئياً يعزز من أداء السوق العقارية. الإمارات اليوم
‏‏أكد خبراء في مجال التأمين، أن منتجات التأمين ضد تعثر سداد القروض العقارية شبه معدومة في الدولة، نظراً لعدم وجود استعداد من قبل شركات التأمين لتغطية مسائل التعثر، خصوصاً تأمين الديون العقارية، إضافة إلى أن وثائق هذا النوع من التأمين عادة ما تُسعّر بقيم مرتفعة، ما يجعل من غير الممكن أن تكون في متناول المقترض.
وأضافوا لـ«الإمارات اليوم» أن هذا النوع من التأمين يحمي البنوك من تعثر المقترضين إلى أن يتم تحصيل الدفعات المتأخرة، أو التنفيذ على الضمانات الموضوعة للقرض، مشيرين إلى أن التأمين ضد التعثر في سداد القروض العقارية مربح جداً لشركات التأمين في أسواق أوروبا وأميركا.
وأكدوا أن شركات التأمين لا تشارك البنوك في تقييم الموقف المالي للعميل، وبالتالي فإن البنك يتحمل وحده مخاطرة عدم سداد العميل لأقساط القرض العقاري.
من جانبهم، قال مختصون في قطاع العقارات، إن إطلاق شركات تأمين، برامج تأمين على القروض العقارية، ولو جزئياً، يعزز من أداء السوق العقارية، مع تقاسم تحمل مخاطر عدم السداد بين البنوك وشركات التأمين، مؤكدين أن توافر هذا المنتج سيعالج واحداً من أهم العوائق المهمة في سوق التمويل العقاري�).
وأضافوا أن توفير منتجات تأمين على مخاطر عدم سداد القروض العقارية، سيشكل حافزاً أمام البنوك، لضخ سيولة للمشترين للحصول على وحدات سكنية من دون مخاوف من التعثر.
تغطية حالات التعثر
وتفصيلاً، قال مساعد مدير شركة «تكافل ري» لإعادة التأمين، تامر ساهر، إن «شركات التأمين في الإمارات لم تشارك مسبقاً في تغطية حالات عدم سداد القروض، لأنها لا تشارك في تحليل وتقييم الموقف المالي للعميل، وقدرته على السداد، الذي يتم في إدارة الائتمان في البنك المعني، لكنها تغطي حالات الوفاة والعجز»، لافتاً إلى أن «بعض الشركات لاتزال تغطي حالات فقدان الوظيفة في نطاق ضيق، نظراً لزيادة مخاطر وقوع هذه الحالات في ظل ظروف الأزمة الاقتصادية».
من جانبه، قال مدير عام شركة الوثبة الوطنية للتأمين، بسام جلميران، إن «منتجات التأمين ضد تعثر سداد القروض العقارية شبه معدومة، لعدم وجود استعداد من قبل شركة التأمين لتغطية مسائل التعثر، خصوصاً في موضوع تأمين الديون، إضافة إلى أن هذه الوثائق عادة ما تُسعّر بقيم مرتفعة، ما يجعل من غير الممكن أن تكون في متناول المقترض».
وأضاف أن «البنوك تمول العملاء على مسؤوليتها، وفي حال تعثرهم، فإنها تكتفي بالاستحواذ على الأصل العقاري لبيعه»، مشيراً إلى أن «هذه الوثائق متوافرة في أسواق خارجية، لكن انحسارها أخيراً يعكس الأزمة المالية العالمية التي كانت نابعة أصلاً من التوسع في هذا النوع من الإقراض».
وقال إن «هناك شركات تأمين كبرى تعرضت لخطر الانهيار لأن مخاطر هذا النوع من التأمينات عادة ما تكون عالية، حيث تعتمد درجة الخطورة على الوضع الاقتصادي عموماً، ومدى انتعاشه».

ولفت إلى «انخفاض نسبة مساهمة البنوك في القروض العقارية من 85٪ إلى 70٪، فيما يُموّل المقترض النسبة المتبقية، نظراً لارتفاع المخاطر في القروض العقارية».
وأوضح أن «هناك نوعاً شبيهاً بتأمين التعثر في سداد القروض العقارية، تسمى بـ(بوليصة تأمين على الحياة)، توفرها شركات تأمين بالتعاون مع بنوك في حالة الوفاة أو العجز الدائم، حسب عُمر الشخص ووضعه الصحي، وبموجب هذه البوليصة، يتم دفع المبلغ المستحق أو المتبقي من قبل شركة التأمين للبنك».
وثائق غير إلزامية
إلى ذلك، أكد مدير عام شركة دبي للتأمين، عبداللطيف أبوقورة، أنه «وفي ظل التوسع الكبير في الإقراض العقاري، لاحظت بنوك أن حالات التخلف عن السداد، أو التعثر من قبل مقترضين، عادة ما تكون بنسب قليلة جداً، لذلك فإنها لم تجد حاجة كبيرة لطلب التغطية التأمينية عليها، كي لا تضيف أعباء إضافية على المقترضين وعملائها».
وأوضح أن «البنوك أدركت في الوقت ذاته، حجم الخطر في حال وفاة المقترض، ولهذا طلبت وثائق تأمينية تغطي مخاطر السداد في حال الوفاة»، لافتاً إلى أن «شركات التأمين لا تمتلك خبرة فنية كافية وقدرات تؤهلها لتسويق هذه المنتجات في السوق».
وأضاف أن «معظم وثائق التأمين على الديون والقروض ليست إلزامية، ولا تطلبها البنوك، نظراً لأنها لم تتعرض لحالات عدم سداد أو تعثر كثيرة».
تأمين مربح جداً
بدوره، قال خبير التأمين، مدير عام شركة (وايت لو) لتقدير الخسائر والأضرار، يوسف جبور، إن «هذا النوع من التأمينات في السوق الإماراتية قليلة، إلا في حالات استثنائية جداً يجلب وثائقها بعض وسطاء التأمين من الخارج»، لافتاً إلى أن «نسبة هذه الأقساط من إجمالي أقساط التأمين في الدولة تقل عن 1٪».
وأوضح أن «البنوك ترى في العقار ضمانة، يمكن بيعه في حال التعثر، لذلك لا تطلب من المقترضين هذه الوثائق، إضافة إلى أن إمكانات شركات التأمين في المنطقة محدودة جداً، ولا تتوافر لديها خبرات وكفاءات قادرة على إدارة هذا النوع من التأمينات».
وبيّن أن «التأمين ضد التعثر في سداد القروض العقارية، مربح جداً لشركات التأمين في أسواق أوروبا وأميركا»، مستبعداً حاجة السوق الإماراتية لهذا النوع من التأمينات.
وأضاف أن «قيمة قسط التأمين على قرض عقاري بمليون دولار، يصل إلى نحو (1.5 أو2٪)، وفي حالات نادرة إلى 3٪ من القيمة الإجمالية للقرض في الأسواق الأوروبية والأميركية، حيث انه كلما ازدادت قيمة القرض، قلت النسبة التي تُحصلها شركات التأمين من المقترض».
تعزيز للسوق العقارية
وفي السياق ذاته، قال المدير العام في شركة هاربور العقارية، مهند الوادية، إن «إطلاق شركات التأمين، برامج للتأمين على القروض العقارية ولو جزئياً، يعزز من�أداء السوق العقارية، مع تقليل تحمل مخاطر عدم السداد بين البنوك وشركات التأمين».
وأكد أن «إتاحة منتجات التأمين على مخاطر عدم السداد للقروض العقارية، سيشكل حافزاً أمام البنوك، لضخ السيولة أمام المشترين، للحصول على وحدات سكنية من دون مخاوف من عدم السداد»، لافتاً إلى أنه «يمكن لشركات التأمين أن تضع بعض الضوابط بالتعاون مع البنوك، لضمان أفضل تطبيق يجعل من هذا النوع من التأمين محفزاً للقطاع العقاري الذي ت�*زايد فيه الفرص، مع تراجع الأسعار بشكل ملحوظ خلال السنوات الماضية».
وأوضح أن «فقدان السيولة بسبب الأزمة المالية، أدى إلى معاناة نحو ثلثي بلاد العالم من الركود الاقتصادي»، مشيراً إلى أنه «وبحسب تقديرات الأمم المتحدة، فإن أكثر من 90 مليون شخص، يقعون في خانة الفقراء نتيجة للأزمة، كما تراجعت التجارة العالمية بنسبة 10٪ للمرة الأولى منذ ثلاثة عقود».
وتابع «تبلغ قيمة ديون البنوك في العالم نحو 4.6 تريليونات دولار، فيما يتطلب العودة إلى النمو زيادة معدلات الادخار»، لافتاً إلى أن «عدم وفاء المصارف بالتزاماتها في الوقت المناسب، يمكن أن يتحول إلى صدمة كبيرة، ويؤثر في وضع البنك وسيولته محلياً وخارجياً، ولذلك يجب أن تكون المصارف مستعدة للتعامل مع الصدمات غير المتوقعة من السيولة».
وأضاف أنه «يمكن للبنوك تأمين أموالها عن طريق شركات التأمين، التي بدورها تعيد التأمين لدى شركات إعادة التأمين»، موضحاً أنه «إذا واجه البنك مستثمراً متعثراً غير قادر على سداد التزاماته لأسباب خارجة عن إرادته، مثل الإفلاس، فإنه يلجأ إلى المفاوضات أو التسوية لحل الوضع، أو إلى بيع أو رهن الاستثمار».
وقال إن «البنك يقوم بجميع المحاولات لاسترداد أمواله لمدة ستة أشهر، وهو العرف المتبع، ومن ثم تتدخل شركات التأمين، لتقوم بعمليات تحقيق خاصة بها قبل تغطية المبلغ المفقود».
مخاطر طبيعية
من جانبه قال المدير الإقليمي في شركة «جونز لانغ لاسال» للاستشارات العقارية، فادي موصلي، إن «شركات التأمين المحلية تؤمن على القروض العقارية ضد مخاطر الوفاة، أو الحريق، أو المخاطر الطبيعية الأخرى، التي تتعرض للعقار، لكنها لا تؤمن ضد مخاطر عدم السداد»، مشيراً إلى أن «بعض الجهات الحكومية تنفذ هذا المنتج التأميني، عند توزيعها للوحدات السكنية للمواطنين، لكن ذلك غير ممتد للعقارات الخاصة، ولا تقوم البنوك بهذا الإجراء».
وأضاف أن «البنك هو الجهة التي تختص بالنظر في القوة الائتمانية للعميل، وتحدد ما إذا كانت ستمنحه التمويل العقاري أم لا، وبالتالي فإن البنك يتحمل وحده مخاطرة عدم سداد العميل لأقساط القرض».
وأوضح أن «شركات التأمين تعمل في التأمين على المخاطر العشوائية، لكن عدم سداد القرض العقاري يعد مخاطرة غير عشوائية لا تغطيها شركة التأمين»، مبيناً أن «توافر هذا المنتج سيعالج واحداً من أهم العوائق المهمة في سوق التمويل العقاري، لكنه يعتبر أحد العوامل غير الأساسية لتحريك السوق العقارية في الدولة».

New property laws help turn Dubai into global destination

Article from Emirates Business 24-7

Article from Emirates Business 24-7

Laws and regulations introduced under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, have transformed the emirate into a more mature market and global real estate destination.

“The vision and leadership of Sheikh Mohammed has positioned Dubai as a global city and one of the most renowned business hubs in a record time. His Highness focused on attracting international investors and building a world-class infrastructure which made Dubai, as we know it today, the location of choice for residents, businesses and visitors,” said Mohanad Alwadiya, Managing Director, Harbor Real Estate.

When it comes to real estate, Dubai set a new global benchmark and has introduced iconic projects to the world that covered all kinds of asset types and interests including the Dubai Media City, Dubai Internet City, Knowledge Village, Burj Al Arab, Emirates Towers, Dubai Marina, Business Bay, Dubai Festival City, Dubai Silicon Oasis, Downtown Burj Dubai, Emirates Living, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Burj Dubai and the Palm Trilogy.

Sheikh Mohammed’s vision did not start with the real estate developments, he ensured establishing the suitable infrastructure to support the real estate boom and its sustainability. The development of the Dubai Ports Authority, the introduction of Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and industrial and specialised business zones have contributed to setting Dubai up to become one of the main trading, tourism and culturally rich cities of the world, he added.

Dubai, under Sheikh Mohammed, became the first city in the Gulf Co-operation Council to introduce a real estate regulatory body under the auspices of the Land Department.

The Land Department has continuously strived to keep up with the development and prosperity of the emirate. Through the leadership of Sheikh Mohammed, who always strives to be the best and definitely world-class in everything he plans, guiding with an extraordinary skill, passion and intelligence, the “vision of Dubai” has become the world’s most incredible reality and yet still, there is even more to come.

Supported by Sheikh Mohammed, the Land Department is planning and implementing services to participate towards making Dubai the leading city of the world, the Department said on its website.

The Government of Dubai instituted new rules, regulations and laws in the emirate to regulate the market, to protect the rights and interests of consumers, and to ensure Dubai property investors are assured the highest possible service standards from real estate agents, brokers and property developers transacting business in Dubai and maintain the integrity of all the developments.

The Department launched a number of laws and regulations that regulate the property sector. Starting with Law No7 concerning land registration in Dubai, Law No3 concerning areas of properties that can be owned by non-UAE nationals in Dubai, Law No8 concerning property trust account in Dubai, Law No 85 concerning real ease agent regulation and the upcoming strata law.

Alwadiya said: “The young Dubai property market has come a long way with regards to regulating the real estate industry. While the efforts to protect rights, lift standards of professionalism and establish a transparent, credible and functional framework are to be applauded, there is still a long way to go before the industry can be said to be in the final stages of maturation.

“Over the past years, the government has adopted numerous legislations and regulations to protect everyone in the real estate sector, and most importantly establish a safe environment for investors. Dubai has proven to be the world’s greatest improver in terms of real estate transparency over the past two years. With the establishment of regulatory bodies such as Rera, investor representative bodies, the establishment of codes of practice for real estate practitioners combined with laws relating to freehold ownership, escrow accounts and strata titling, Dubai has reduced drastically the concerns of expatriate and foreign investors,” he added.

Transparency has also been given a boost with the introduction of the credit information law, a positive step towards transparency and risk mitigation for banks. The law will create a framework of rights and obligations for data providers, information users and individuals alike, Alwadiya said.
Saeed Mirsaeedi, Investment Manager of Sherwoods Real Estate, said: “Introduction of new laws has been a positive development and has helped Dubai’s emergence as a mature and prosperous economy.

“Clear-cut regulations and increasing transparency make Dubai property most attractive to overseas investors,” he said.
Although previously non-Gulf Co-operation Council expatriates were only permitted to rent property, or own property on a 99-year leasehold basis, all changed in 2002 when the Dubai Government took the initiative and permitted the ownership of freehold property to expatriates. This bold initiative changed the perception of the real estate industry in the Middle East and the Gulf.

The Dubai Government began the promotion in 1997 by setting up Emaar Properties. The next year, Emaar began work on Dubai Marina followed by the Emirates Living Community developments such as the Springs, the Meadows, Emirates Hills, etc. However, the major property boom in Dubai occurred in May 2002, when Sheikh Mohammed issued a decree to allow foreigners to buy and own freehold property in selected areas of the city, now referred to as New Dubai.
On March 14, 2006, Dubai’s Government issued a law legalising foreign ownership of properties in designated areas of Dubai.

“It was the adoption of freehold tenure in general, and foreign ownership in particular, that sparked the great real estate boom in the Dubai property market,” said Alwadiya.

The introduction of the freehold law by the Ruler transformed Dubai into a true success story capturing the imagination and admiration of countries worldwide. Many countries followed the Dubai model and benefited greatly from its visionary experience.

Dubai has developed several iconic real estate projects, which have acquired international recognition, marketing the emirate as a destination of choice for business and travel and for investment in real estate.

The Palm trilogy and other iconic projects such as The World have put Dubai in international limelight. Furthermore, prospective developments of creative concepts, which are likely to attract significant visitors in the coming years, continue to take shape. Burj Dubai, the tallest tower in the world, will be opens today. Although Dubai International Financial Centre formally opened as a global financial centre in 2004 with the aim to become the global hub for financial services in the Middle East, it has also emerged as one of the most expensive addresses for real estate in the emirate.

In fact, property prices on residential units in the DIFC are becoming increasingly comparable with the leading capitals of the world. Dubai’s real estate industry dynamics are firmly entrenched in Dubai Strategic Plan, which strives to achieve a medium-long term objective of diversifying the economic base of the emirate in key growth areas, which have been defined as priority sectors within the associated blue print. Of particular significance is the focus of the plan on the real estate development and the construction sector, as well as travel and tourism, with the former providing necessary infrastructure for growth of all other businesses, and the latter ensuring sustained economic buoyancy through continuous and aggressive growth in visitors to the emirate.

The investor-friendly business environment in Dubai has promoted not only businesses but also a demand for office space, and the high real incomes have ensured that the labour force is increasingly imported from abroad, thus catalysing requirements for housing and retail.

Iconic projects

Dubai has introduced some of the most iconic destinations that cater for different lifestyles and asset categories. Some of them in the business and commerce segment are the DIFC, Business Bay, Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City, Knowledge Village, Dubai Silicon Oasis, Dubai Maritime City, Tecom, Jebel Ali Free Zone and Dubai Healthcare City.

In entertainment, lifestyle and culture segment falls the Dubai Festival City, Downtown Burj Dubai, Emirates Living, Dubai Mall, Ibn Battuta Mall, Palm Jumeirah, Burj Dubai and Dubai Marina.

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Rent caps set to be maintained at 2009 levels

Article from Gulf News

Article from Gulf News

Dubai-His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Moaktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has announced that the rent increase caps for 2010 remain at the same rates as 2009.

Endorsed by the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA), the rent cap states the maximum increase in rent landlords can impose each year.
The 2010 figures have been formed following the trends shown in RERA’s latest rental index. It states that increases can only occur if the property is more than 25 per cent below the average index price.

If the rent is 26 per cent to 35 per cent less than the average rent for a similar property, the maximum increase will be equivalent to 5 per cent of the rent value of the year 2009.

Pattern

If the rent is 36 per cent to 45 per cent less than the average rent for a similar property, the maximum increase will be equivalent to 10 per cent of rent value of the year 2009.

If the rent is 46 per cent to 55 per cent less than the average rent for a similar property, the maximum increase will be equivalent to 15 per cent of rent value of the year 2009.

If the rent is less by a percentage that is more than 55 per cent of the average rent rate, a 20 per cent increase is permissible.
‘Positive move’

“I think the decision to keep the rental cap the same as 2009 is good as it keeps the market in the same condition and doesn’t have that much of an impact as of now.” Sudhir Kumar, managing director of Realtors International told Gulf News.

The decree was implemented to curb the sky-rocketing rents and to regulate relations between landlords and tenants.

“It’s a positive move because it shows that regulatory operations are taking charge. However, there should be more enforcement on the individual landlords who are still breaking the values of the caps and are not abiding to the decree. A closer eye should also be kept on the fluctuating prices with the rent cap keeping up to speed.” said Mohanad Al Wadiya, managing director of Harbor Real Estate.

Making owners pay service charges a major challenge

Article from Emirates Business 24-7

Article from Emirates Business 24-7

A lack of transparency over the cost of maintaining a building, low quality standards and services and confusion over what is covered by service charges have angered owners and led to many refusing to pay the charges, say industry sources.

Adrian Quinn, Chairman of Dubai-based strata management firm Essential Community Management, said that if a building has service fee arrears of 40 per cent, it would not be possible to continue maintaining it internally or externally.

The available funds would have to be used to make payments to the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, insurance companies, master developers and district cooling suppliers.

Essential Community provide strata management services to more than 40 developers in Dubai and has worked with master developers Emaar and Nakheel.

Quinn said the major challenge for the strata sector in Dubai is making owners pay the building service fees.

“The delay in the enforcement of the strata law is allowing many owners to avoid paying their strata service fees,” he added. “This is due to many developers not wanting to – or not knowing how to – recover the outstanding service fees via the terms and conditions of their contracts of sale.

“Most contracts allow for the developer to sell the apartment or villa in the event of non-payment and also recover all the legal costs and penalties.”

According to a recent survey by Dubai-based real estate broker Harbor Real Estate, the average annual service charges for buildings across Dubai are Dh16 per square foot.

“The highest service charges recorded were in and around Downtown Burj Dubai at about Dh22 per sq ft, while the lowest were in the Greens at Dh11 per sq ft,” said Harbor Managing Director, Mohanad Alwadiya.

“Consumers are no longer able to ignore the pinch of the economic downturn and investors and owner-occupiers alike are starting to evaluate very carefully the impact of service charges on the financial performance of their property and their own personal wealth.”

The survey, shared exclusively with Emirate Business, reveals that the overall average charge for villa communities is Dh2.5 per sq ft calculated on the overall plot size. Charges for villas are highest on The Palm Jumeirah, where the highest are between Dh4 and Dh5 per sq ft. “The lowest price is about Dh1.16 per sq ft for some of the villas in the Meadows community. This is broken down into Dh1.03 per sq ft for the general fund, Dh0.05 per sq ft for the capital reserve fund and Dh0.08 per sq ft for the master community levy,” said Alwadiya.

He said many developers who sold off-plan properties had not calculated the service charges at the time of sale, leaving many investors not knowing what the fees would be until the buildings were handed over.

“This makes it difficult for investors to determine the yield estimates on potential investments and adds a further element of uncertainty in an already uncertain environment. When buyers are considering purchasing properties, a unit that is complete with fees already apparent is more appealing than an off-plan transaction,” said Alwadiya.

“The majority of developers of projects that are still under construction do not provide service charge figures until the building is completed. On the other hand, most buyers and sellers, and even brokers, will not mention this important subject until the final stages of the negotiation process.”

Walid Jaafar, a partner at the Dubai-based Fichte & Co Legal Consultancy, said the official gazette announcement of Law No27 of 2007 on Ownership of Jointly Owned Properties in Dubai – the strata law – was published on December 31, 2007. Article 33 of the law says the legislation will come into effect within three months of the date of publication – ie on April 1, 2008.

“However, the law has still to be implemented,” said Jaafar. “The law does not address the issue of tenants. The law is intended to regularise the relationship between the owners of units in a specific development.

“This matter is usually left to the owner and the tenant to agree on. However, in practice, unless agreed otherwise between the parties in a tenancy agreement, the service fees should be covered by the owner.”

Fichte & Co has not yet seen any cases involving disputes over unpaid service fees, but does not exclude the possibility that a few are being reviewed by courts.

“In the absence of a regulatory law and the absence of any owners’ associations, the only possibility to file such cases lies in the hands of the master-developers or the sub-developers,” said Jaafar. “The claims in such a case would be based on the sale and purchase agreements and the master declarations attached to them.”

Quinn said that, once implemented, the strata law would create more transparency within owners’ associations. “If a building does not use all the budgeted funds in a year, the owners at the annual general assembly would have the right to decrease the next year’s budget or transfer the funds into the sinking fund,” he added.

The law makes it mandatory for every strata to have a 10-year sinking fund to ensure that money is set aside to pay for long-term capital expenditure.

“We at Essential Community automatically create a 20- or 25-year sinking fund to ensure all major plant and equipment are properly budgeted for on normal lifecycle cost structures.”

A strata general manager is appointed by the landlords of the building to create a draft budget, which is then reviewed by a board.

“After it has been approved by the board it is sent to all owners before the annual general assembly and is then approved there,” said Quinn. “After the meeting has approved all the agenda items it is then up to the strata general manager to enact all the motions and ensure they are carried out.”

Quinn said the most important duties of a strata manager are to oversee the facilities management companies to ensure they and their sub-contractors carry out the jobs they are contracted to do.

“There is a major conflict of interest if a strata management company has its own facilities management company,” he added.

Landlords will control what the owners’ association does and how it spends funds through the elected board.

“This means that the individual landlords will have some power in what the service fees will be and be able to rectify things. The enforcement of the strata law will make it possible to split buildings into multiple cost structures,” said Quinn.

“The first is the master cost structure, which would pay the master community service fees, buildings insurance, essential service costs, the managers’ fees, the facilities managers’ fees, district cooling charges, etc.

“The second cost structure would be the residential component of the building, so it would pay all the costs for the specifically residential component, for example lifts, foyers, gyms, pools and car parks. The third cost structure could be then the commercial portion of the building and cover all the commercial areas.”

Jaafar said: “When the owners have control of their buildings they will, through their board, review complaints of tenants and issues to ensure a good relationship is maintained.

“At present a tenant may have problems and issues with the building he is in, but the developer does not want to know about it or does not understand what they need to do to rectify them. There are some developers that are doing a good job in running their buildings, but everyone still has problems with conflicts of interest issues on maintenance items.”

Jaafar said according to Article 25 (2) of the strata law, if a unit owner fails to pay the service fees, the manager of the owner’s association would take action against the owner three months after notifying him through the notary public, enforceable by the execution judge in any competent court.

“However, the unit owner may object to this decision within the three-month period. In such a case, the execution shall be withheld until a decision in the subject of the objection has been reached.” Meanwhile, analysts called for the strata law to be enforced as soon as possible.

Nicole Betts, Senior Manager of Asteco Association Management, said that while Dubai awaited the regulations that supported the jointly-owned property law, Asteco had been working for several years with a number of high-profile clients well ahead of the implementation of the law.

“We have been helping companies establish informal owner associations, set up service charge and budgeting models, set community rules as well as facility management and service provider selection procedures based on best international practices,” she said.

“Some companies are actively encouraging owners to take control for themselves – albeit at this stage this has to be done under the developer’s name.

“A good example is the MAG Group which is dedicated to transparency. We have worked with them from conception of their MAG 214 Jumeirah Lakes Towers project through to delivering onsite management services to an informal owners’ association. Our team works closely with the owners’ management board to assist them to preserve, maintain and enhance the tower.”

Mohammed Nimer, Chief Executive Officer of MAG Group Property Development, said: “We have always operated in an environment of transparency, so it was natural for our company to introduce best practice in property management to enable owners to truly run their own buildings.”

Asteco has also been working with another developer for the V3 Tower, also located at Jumeirah Lakes, where handover to owners commenced recently.

“Our role is to administer day-to-day operations and assist in the formation of an informal owners’ association and a management board,” added Betts.

Local and Federal Authorities Need to Form Much Closer Ties

Article in  Emirates Business 24/7
Article in Emirates Business 24/7

The UAE real estate sector must have more co-ordination between regulatory bodies in different emirates and the proposed federal real estate regulatory body to tackle various issues concerning the sector, analysts said.

“What the government needs to do is have real estate regulatory bodies of each emirate to liaise with one central regulatory body and the federal immigration department to oversee real estate issues such as visa regulations,” said Chet Riley, Vice-President, Equities Real Estate Analyst, Nomura International.

“Three years ago, people were trying to encourage buyers through visa offers. When the market got overheated, visa rules were tightened. Today there is a lot of confusion over the rules and regulations in the real estate sector regarding visas.”

He said: “A central regulatory body for the oversight of issues such as immigration is probably required to ensure the consistent application of immigration law and prevent forms of regulatory arbitrage related to real estate.

“There are aspects of regulations that we think should remain at the emirate level, which could include dispute resolutions and arbitration, planning consents and associated municipality issues such as infrastructural requirements.”

Emirates Business reported yesterday that the Ajman Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Arra) had submitted a proposal to federal authorities to overhaul current property visa regulations. Arra wants to remove property values, fixed incomes or compulsory exits as criteria for granting or renewing six-month residency visas. 

Ajman’s regulatory body put in a five-point submission and said it should be possible to renew visas every six months for up to three years without the need to leave the country.

Parvees Gafur, Executive Vice-President – Sales, Gowealthy real estate, said: “Co-ordinated efforts are needed between real estate regulatory bodies in various emirates of the country and a central regulatory body that will work in close connection with the immigration department of the country to tackle visa issues of real estate investors.”

“We would even recommend that the immigration department allocate representative resources to each of the real estate regulatory bodies to provide an integrated service package and assist investors with their visa queries promptly,” said Gafur.

He said: “At an operational level, a decentralised approach with individual real estate bodies within each emirate will be far more efficient and effective to govern real estate regulations as each emirate has different challenges, visions and focus. 

“However, a central authority established to monitor the progress of individual bodies will help in guiding various factions towards overall positioning of the emirate to occupy a strategic place within the global economic platform. 

“Such an entity can facilitate best practices and federal-local interactions that can have a positive influence on shaping the overall identity of the emirate.”

Farina Ahmed, CEO, BSEL Infrastructure, an Ajman developer, said: “Any co-ordinated effort taken to bridge gaps in the real estate sector is a welcome move. I believe there should be co-ordinated efforts among different emirates’ regulatory bodies and one central body.” 

Real estate analysts in the UAE have welcomed Arra’s initiative to submit a proposal to the federal government.

Mohanad Alwadiya, Managing Director, Harbor Real Estate, said: “The Arra initiative is a positive move towards attracting foreign investment and boosting the level of confidence among all the relevant stakeholders in the property industry.”

Iseeb Rehman, Managing Director, Sherwoods Independent Property Consultants, said: “The proposal is a positive move. Any effort taken to resolve real estate issues by real estate regulatory bodies is a step in the right direction.”

“In Ajman the real estate sector has been seeing some swift and timely action. The feedback from clients and developers is that Arra is resolving issues quickly and trying to provide clarity.

“Conditions for residing in the UAE is a federal issue, but they need to consider current market climate versus current income situation. Regulators need to be realistic and at the same time appealing to people looking to come to the UAE. If conditions become too stringent it will be harder for people to comply.”

Riley said: “Arra and Rera [Dubai Real Estate Regulatory Authority] are being relatively proactive in the area of co-ordination, which is a positive step and it is very important to continue dialogues among the six emirates. Under the present circumstances, Arra’s initiative, though in the initial stages, is a step in the right direction. We welcome the initiative to establish visa regulations and think this should be set at a federal level in conjunction with immigration authorities to remove any confusion. Currently, the major challenge faced by the region is one of customer confidence, be it investors, end users or even corporate entities.”

“It would, however, be difficult to have a minimum price level set across the emirates given the disparity of pricing in each area. The key issue that we see is the ability of the applicant to support themselves and their dependants, rather than the value of the property, if they were looking to reside in the country,” said Riley.

“Ajman is a different market from Dubai. Imposing limits across the board will be difficult in all the emirates,” he said.

Gafur said: “The proposal is a first step towards addressing visa issues. If implemented, steps such as these will give further impetus to a larger segment of investors and business entities that have long-term business plans in the region.”

“The minimum criteria for property investment should be looked into very closely and the medium- to long-term impacts of such steps have to be assessed using situational planning and forecasting studies. Investment strata-led visa restrictions, if planned efficiently, could have a positive influence in the market by ensuring the right kind of investments and investors are at play over substantial and optimum time periods.”

The BSEL CEO said: “The six-month visa regulation is not enough for an investor in Ajman. Residency permit should be for three years. With six months’ visa tenure, investors lose faith in the real estate market in Ajman.”

Alwadiya said the property market recovery in the UAE needs to be supported by solid economic drivers and regulations. “The visa issue is one that has placed a lot of pressure on recently retrenched expatriates when trying to find alternative employment or heading home. The Department of Naturalisation and Residency has implemented a law which will grant six-month renewable visa to those who invest in freehold property in the UAE.”

“While this is a positive move to assure potential investors, the six-month period is considered to be too limited a duration to be meaningful to many investors. It is thought the federal law should match the general residency law whereby investors will be eligible for a three-year residency visa provided they visited the emirate at least once every six months. This approach will appear to be far more appealing and enticing for investors,” said Alwadiya.

Gafur said: “Confidence-building measures at the federal and regulatory level is paramount in bringing back faith to the market and spur medium- to long-term investments into the country.”

“Fundamentally, the long-term success of an economy is influenced primarily by the potential of the economy to s
ustain itself on the basis of its inherent resources and the faith of internal and external stakeholders. 

“And this faith is determined by the strength of relevant regulatory systems that shape, manage and control various segments of industry that spur the economy, such as legal systems, banking and financial entities and industry bodies.”

Gafur said with substantially reduced market prices for properties and prevailing investor sentiment as the background, a planned and phased overhaul of visa regulations is critical to the long-term success of the emirate. 

“Visa regulation changes can have immediate and substantial effects on the long-term business and operational sentiment of the investing public and should be approached with extreme care. Ajman has come a long way in stamping its brand of investment potential, especially within the mid-segment of investors from South Asia and the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, this growth has been fraught with teething issues, compounded by the present economic downturn.

“The immediate elements that need to be looked into would be infrastructure – power requirements, for example – and further clarity in regulatory and legal frameworks, especially within the real estate sector,” he said.