A Quarterly Newsletter from the UAE and Oman member firms of PKF International Ltd.

VOL 13, Issue 1 January 2011

Free Zone Update

Registration of Freehold Properties in Dubai

As per the new rule introduced by the Land Department of Dubai it is now mandatory to submit a “no objection certificate“ from the Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA) for registering any freehold property anywhere in the emirate of Dubai if the shareholder is a foreign company or an offshore company. However, property registrations in the name of individuals will continue as before.

This move is aimed to help the Land Department keep updated information on such offshore companies and their shareholding pattern. The new rules will make it easy for the department to interact with the property owners.

Besides, companies registered in other free zones across the emirate, too will be required to register with JAFZA if they intend to make any property purchase in Dubai.

Freehold properties in Dubai can now be registered with the Dubai Land Department only through Jebel Ali Offshore entities unless the registration is in the name of an individual

The Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority has confirmed that setting up a JAFZ offshore entity is now a mandatory pre-requisite for purchasing freehold property in Dubai. The shareholders of the offshore companies could be individuals or local or foreign entities. The land department will in turn register the title of the property only on the submission of such a “no objection certificate”.

The department is not registering titles to freehold properties in the name of foreign offshore companies. The officials at the department have confirmed that they are accepting registration of titles only in personal names and Jebel Ali Offshore companies.

This development is a cause for concern among investors, since the avenues for investing in properties in Dubai has now been restricted to only this option. However, the move may help to streamline the property registration process, since Land Department of Dubai will only need to refer to the JAFZA database to keep their records up to date.

(This article has been contributed by Mr. Stany Pereira, Partner and Mr. Jawhar. A, Free Zone Coordinator).