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    • Criminal Complaint filed against Al Fajer Properties Sheikh Maktoum
      Criminal Complaint filed in Germany against Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Juma Al Maktoum CEO of Dubai Developer Al Fajer Properties The Dubai Sheikh who mislead and extort a German Couple  Germany – Dubai 2011 A German elderly couple , today 80 + 50 years old who have been Dubai Tourists since a decade, bought in 2005 an apartment at Nakheel´s Dubai Residen […]
    • UAE: Human Rights Blogger, Sorbonne Lecturer Charged With ‘Humiliating' Officials
      source Human Rights Watch www.hrw.org (Beirut) - The United Arab Emirates attorney general should immediately drop all charges against five pro-democracy activists to halt their trial, Human Rights Watch said today. The charges of "humiliating" top officials relate solely to the defendants' peaceful use of speech to criticize the UAE governmen […]
    • Nakheel Dubai Sunland Case
      June 5, 2011After 21 hearings, Chris O'Donnell, the Australian chief executive of Dubai's major developer, Nakheel, came to the defence of his former colleagues Matthew Joyce and Marcus Lee. Mr Joyce and Mr Lee are accused of profiting from the sale of land that had been earmarked for a colossal high-rise development, which was to include the futur […]
    • Dubai Nakheel CEO decided to leave the company
      Dubai June 7, 2011 Nakheel said on Wednesday that its CEO Chris O'Donnell had left the company "after completing his contract terms". O'Donnell, an Australian who joined the developer in 2006, said he had decided to leave Nakheel following five years spent with the company, the statement added. O'Donnell has overseen a traumatic time […]
    • Owner of Dubai Developer Damac Hussain Sajwani files case against Egypt corruption ruling
      Dubai property developer Damac said on Tuesday it had filed an international arbitration case against Egypt over a land dispute and the conviction of its chairman and owner, Hussain Sajwani.A Cairo court last week sentenced Sajwani in his absence to jail and ordered him to pay a $40.5 million fine in connection with his 2006 purchase of land at Egypt's […]
    • Dubai Palm Jumeriah - Investors plan to take legal action
      Investors in Dubai Palm Jumeirah’s Golden Mile complex will this week serve the developer behind the project with a legal ultimatum to hand over their units or issue them with a refund.Up to ten investors in the luxury complex plan to issue Souq Residences with legal notice in a bid to force a resolution to a dispute that has been ongoing for more than a yea […]
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Posts Tagged ‘Dubai Properties’

Nakheel ask for discount to pay debts

Posted by 7starsdubai on November 23, 2010


source Arabian Business

Nakheel, the debt-laden real estate arm of Dubai World, is offering trade creditors early payment on outstanding debts in exchange for a cut on the amount due.

UAE conglomerate Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group, whose industry arm supplies materials to the construction sector, said Nakheel had pushed to renegotiate its debts with trade contractors, in exchange for a quick settlement.

“‘Give us a discount and we will finish your payment upfront,’ that is what [Nakheel] has got to say,” Abdullah Al Gurg, group general manager, told Arabian Business. “In some cases, yes they have [tried to renegotiate debts].

Nakheel did not respond to requests for comment on the matter.

Posted in Dubai Debts, Nakheel | Tagged: | Comments Off on Nakheel ask for discount to pay debts

What next is the question now being asked by investors as one of the Middle East’s largest property developers Nakheel

Posted by 7starsdubai on May 13, 2009


source The National UAE, May 12, 2009

ABU DHABI // Nakheel made headlines around the world with its Palm island projects and the planned Hong Kong-sized Waterfront development, while its advertising billboards dotted around Dubai asked “What next?”

What next is the question now being asked by investors as one of the Middle East’s largest property developers contends with a US$3.5 billion (Dh12.85bn) Islamic bond due in December, which helped fund projects that included the world’s biggest man-made islands.

How the sukuk is handled will serve as a key test for the credit ratings of state-controlled companies in the emirate and could affect their ability to raise money on international markets. It is also widely seen as an indicator of how Dubai will cope with its overall debt burden, estimated at $70bn.

“The clock is ticking, so something has to be done,” says Abdul Hussain, the chief executive of Mashreq Capital.

Nakheel issued the three-year sukuk in 2006, when the Dubai property market was still in a fever and the likelihood of a downturn seemed impossibly remote. The bond came with a profit rate – the Sharia-compliant equivalent of an interest rate – of 6.345 per cent per year. To ease its cash flow, however, Nakheel arranged to pay just half of that, or 3.1725 per cent, during the life of the bond. It would pay the rest at maturity, which seemed a sensible strategy given the rapid rise in property prices in Dubai and the healthy profits the company was booking.

As a further teaser, Nakheel added an option for sukuk holders to buy shares of Nakheel at a 5 per cent discount should it stage an initial public offering and become a listed company. It also backed up the sukuk with significant collateral: land and other assets worth more than twice the value of the sukuk.

At first, international investors eagerly snapped up the offering. Initially, just 30 per cent of the shares were sold to investors in the region, according to a source involved in the deal. The rest went to overseas investors.

Almost three years later, the economic climate could hardly be more different and Nakheel, like many other companies in Dubai, is busy working out how to settle its debts amicably while continuing to build and invest. The company recently undertook a round of cost-cutting and is said to be asking its contractors to take discounts on payments due to them. A source at a building contractor in Dubai that has worked on a number of Nakheel projects said all construction companies associated with the company’s Waterfont development had been asked to take discounts ranging between 30 and 40 per cent.

Yet among the many ways in which Nakheel must cope with the changing economic tides, its $3.5bn sukuk probably ranks as the most significant – and most urgent. The uncertainty surrounding the sukuk has caused its price to rise and tumble rapidly. It was recently trading at a heavy discount, with a yield of about 58 per cent. Low prices and high yields mean investors demand to be compensated with a high return for taking an increased risk that their money may not be paid back in full. “The market obviously believes there is a significant risk of some form of restructuring,” Mr Hussain says. “Otherwise you wouldn’t be able to earn a 50 per cent yield. We are now waiting to hear what sorts of strategies are going to be put in place.”

Nakheel has a range of options for the sukuk, analysts say. It may simply pay off investors in full using an injection of funds from the Dubai Government, received as part of the first instalment in a planned $20bn bond programme. Nakheel said recently it was receiving assistance under the programme.

It could also sell part of itself to a private equity firm in order to raise some of the cash. Analysts have suggested that money raised from a possible sale of part of DP World to a private equity firm could be redirected through Dubai World – which owns both DP World and Nakheel – to help pay off the sukuk. Abraaj Capital, a buyout firm managing $6bn in assets, has approached Dubai World about acquiring a “significant minority stake” in DP World, a source with knowledge of the discussions said earlier this week.

Nakheel could also go to banks for loans to refinance part of the sukuk, or it could try to buy back a chunk of the Islamic bond by extending a tender offer to existing owners.

Another option is for Nakheel to partially restructure the sukuk, giving most of investors’ money back and converting the rest of the debt into a new longer-term loan. This route could also involve one or both of Nakheel’s other sukuk, which are smaller and due in 2010 and 2011.

Rumours of such a restructuring began to surface about a month ago, when Nakheel hired a market intelligence firm to identify the owners of its sukuk shares. Many investors saw this as an indication that the company was trying to find out what portion of the sukuk was owned by investors who would be sympathetic to an attempt to restructure.

The possibility of a restructuring led Standard & Poor’s, a major ratings agency, to put numerous Dubai companies on watch for a credit downgrade.

A Nakheel spokeswoman said in a statement that “a number of options” were currently on the table and declined to elaborate. Bankers said that a restructuring that left investors with a loss was probably Nakheel’s least desirable option, aside from a fully fledged default. If Nakheel were to allow many of its investors to take losses, they said, the cost of raising money in the future – for Nakheel and other government-linked companies in the UAE and the broader GCC – might go up.

“Nakheel has a large volume of public debt, much of it held by international investors, so a lot is at stake regarding international credibility of Dubai corporates that will likely at some point seek to borrow again in the global capital markets,” says Khalid Howladar, a vice president and senior credit officer for structured and Islamic finance at Moody’s, another ratings agency.

What seems most likely, investors and observers say, is a combination of some of these options. Nakheel may buy back some of the sukuk shares using subsidy money, for example, offering an above-market price for them. If some investors are unwilling to sell, the company could then try to refinance a portion of the debt with bank loans and sell some of its equity to a private equity firm.

Bobby Sarkar, an analyst at Al Mal Capital in Dubai, believes Nakheel is also considering selling some of its assets, such as its stake in the Atlantis Hotel on the Palm Jumeirah and properties in Discovery Gardens, both in Dubai. “They are looking at a combination of asset sales, some inflow from the Government, some restructuring and a partial sale to Abraaj.”

Whatever options it chooses, a source familiar with the sukuk says, a full default or even a serious restructuring is highly unlikely, given the value of the collateral that Nakheel has provided and the negative message such a move would send to international markets.

Moreover, Dubai’s government-linked companies have so far succeeded in paying off or refinancing large loans and bonds as they come due. In February, for example, Borse Dubai – the company that owns Nasdaq Dubai and the Dubai Financial Market – was able to refinance a $3.4bn bank loan, albeit with major help from local sources of funding.

Last month, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority refinanced a $2.2bn Islamic loan with 18 international, regional and local banks.

Nasser al Shaikh, the director general of the Dubai Department of Finance, said a week later there was a “shift in the overall mood” in the international credit markets when it came to Dubai’s debt.

Posted in Dubai | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on What next is the question now being asked by investors as one of the Middle East’s largest property developers Nakheel

RERA – Dubai mulls cancellation of 27 projects

Posted by 7starsdubai on May 12, 2009


source ArabianBusiness

Dubai is considering cancelling 27 projects, the head of its real estate regulator said on Monday, as the emirate’s property market slumps in the global downturn.

A decision whether to cancel or not would be made by the end of the month, said Marwan bin Ghalita, the head of the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA).

“The decision has not been done. They are projects all over Dubai – third party projects (sub developers),” he said.

Earlier this year, Ghalita said he believed 25 percent of projects will be cancelled in Dubai as a result of the global economic slowdown.

“It’s almost the same,” he said when asked if that figure had changed. The Dubai Land Department and RERA set up a committee last week to cancel projects in the emirate that are not feasible.

Posted in Dubai | Tagged: , , , | 7 Comments »

Off plan sales in Dubai ‘practically non-existent’

Posted by 7starsdubai on May 3, 2009


source ArabianBusiness May 03, 2009

Off-plan property sales in Dubai are “practically non-existent”, according to a new report released this week.

“State of the Market 2009”, published by Better Homes and Investment Boutique, warns that “off plan sales across the emirate are practically non-existent, and finished product is in demand mostly by end-users.”

The report adds that “there is still substantial room for price depression in order to meet true affordability levels.”

However, on a more positive footing, it suggests that “by the last quarter of 2009 prices are expected to hit a trough and the market is expected to gradually stabilise.”

The 100-page report was compiled over the past three months, and contains detailed analysis of the residential, commercial, retail and hospitality sectors.

“The report shows that we are going through very challenging times, where prices, targets and ambitions will have to be dramatically altered. This is a painful process,” said Better Homes managing director, Ryan Mahoney.

Posted in Dubai | Tagged: , , | Comments Off on Off plan sales in Dubai ‘practically non-existent’

Tamweel Dubai chief wants urgent property aid

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 29, 2009


source The National

The Government must urgently add liquidity to limit the drop in property prices and revive the economy, the chairman of Tamweel, the country’s second-argest home finance provider, said yesterday.

The fall in property prices is bringing “huge losses” to investors in the country, Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed said.

“Unless we bring in financing for the real estate sector, I do not think the economy can be revived,” Sheikh Khaled said on the sidelines of a Dubai Economic Council conference.

“The Government has to intervene and provide funding for banks to come back and lend.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Dubai | Tagged: , , | Comments Off on Tamweel Dubai chief wants urgent property aid

Comment of the day

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 28, 2009


by Robert to 7StarsDubai

Until recently I worked in the ‘legal’ department of a major property developer in Dubai. These investors are 100% correct. The unscrupulous practices being carried out by Developers in Dubai in order to defraud investors of the money they’ve handed over in good faith is quite incredible.

It’s a massive scandal just waiting to be revealed. I just hope these investors are sucessful in their quest to reveal the extent of the scandal. We are talking about billions of dollars of investors money, not millions.

These developers have taken the money from investors, spent it and now cancelled the projects to which the money relates. The crux of the problem is the companies won’t now refund investors their money back as they simply don’t have this money anymore. They’re broke. If they were in an western country we’d say they were Insolvent or Bankrupt. They simply shouldn’t still be trading.

They can’t now give the investors the money back and they’ve spent it (or hidden it away in accounts in far off places). All these developers were relying upon is the ‘Pyramid Scheme’ they’ve been operating wouldn’t come to an end. Sadly the credit crunch arrived and their income gravy train has come to a sudden and abrupt halt. Now blind panic has set in amongst these developers and investors quite rightly ask for their money back in relation to the numerous cancelled projects. The scandal is that the developers are doing every trick in their big sordid book of malpractices in order to avoid having to refund such money, for the reasons I’ve said.

The Dubai Government and the so called ‘Real Estate Regulation Authority (RERA)’ are doing next to nothing to stop these sharks. They shouldn’t be surprised therefore that the pack of cards they’ve tried to build in Dubai over the last few years is now going to come tumbling down around their sorry, sordid ears. You reap what you sow.

Posted in Dubai | Tagged: , | Comments Off on Comment of the day

After the gold rush: Getting paid in Dubai

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 27, 2009


source building UK

It is claimed that the average contractor is owed £50m, while some consultants’ fees are being slashed in half. Roxane McMeeken finds out just how bad Dubai’s payment problems have become

Dubai is looking more and more like a place with a great future behind it. You can see that most clearly on the billboards erected beside empty sites and motionless tower cranes. “Ordinary is for other people” says the one where the Trump Tower was to have gone. Well, nemesis follows hubris: at least half of the emirate’s construction projects are “on hold” according to research firm Proleads, and nobody knows when, or if, they will start again.

New signs of the desperate state of Dubai’s developers are emerging every day. To look at the top three of them is telling: Union Properties has admitted it would welcome a merger after shelving its flagship £320m Formula One theme park in Dubailand. Emaar recently announced yet more cancelled projects: Asmaran (a 70 million ft2 , £17bn mixed-community scheme billed as “a jewel in the desert”), Maysan (three residential towers, also covering 70 million ft2) and Warsan (500 villas covering 3.4 million ft2). Meanwhile, Nakheel is facing a fraud investigation and has put its £2bn mall expansion plan on hold. It has also been hit by the halving of property prices on its celebrated Palm Jumeira project. Four-bedroom garden homes on a frond are going for £1.2m compared with £2.6m in July.

Where does all this leave the British consultants and contractors who count these developers among their top clients?

The short answer is, cash-strapped. Some are seeing their fees slashed – a Building survey of more than 150 people working in the UAE found that two-thirds of them have been asked to drop their prices recently. Others have been waiting for payments for six months and many are considering legal action.

What went wrong?

The first problem was that many developers were reliant on bank credit rather than oil revenue, as is often thought. Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, has about 10% of the world’s oil, but Dubai has almost none. Banks were happy to keep lending to its developers as long as property prices were going up, and could act as collateral for more lending and more construction. But when property prices started tumbling, this virtuous circle turned vicious and clients ran out of money to pay consultants and contractors.

Abu Dhabi’s $10bn (£7bn) loan to Dubai announced in February appeared to offer a glimmer of hope, especially when the Dubai government said this money would mainly go to state-linked developers. But questions are being raised about how far it will go. For one thing, Dubai has declared that it owes at least $80bn (£56bn), of which almost a quarter falls due for repayment this year. The boss of a UK consultant with a large presence in Dubai says: “The $10bn won’t even cover developers’ interest payments.” He adds that compounding this is the fact that Dubai has so few ways to make money. Last year, 65% of its GDP was from real estate. He adds: “And there is no oil, no exports, no tax and 80% of the population are expats, many of whom are leaving.” Now the fee cuts are spreading to Abu Dhabi, where developer Aldar has written to consultants to ask them to cut fees – on live projects by up to 20%.

Late payments and fee cuts

So how bad has it got for UK firms? Certainly there is no sign that the government cash is filtering through. A senior source at a UK contractor in Dubai is fuming. He says: “The average contractor here is owed about £50m.”

A source at a UK project manager says some payments from Dubai developers are up to six months late; Mace and EC Harris are saying openly that it is taking at least three months to get paid. WSP is estimated to have set aside £4m to cover bad debts and project management consultancy Blair Anderson now employs someone full-time solely to chase payments in Dubai.

Meanwhile, the head of a British specialist working on a major project that stopped in October says his firm was paid 20% of what it was owed in January. He said he has no idea when he will get the rest, although he believes it will come through eventually, as his client is linked to the Dubai government.

Then there are the fee cuts, which are affecting most firms. Evan Anderson, group director of Blair Anderson, says the firm’s fees are between 20% and 30% lower than six months ago. But he is still better off than many architects, whose fees Anderson is renegotiating on behalf of clients. He says: “We are doing a lot of reverse briefing of designers. We’re asking them to cut their fees by up to half and to change the materials they’re specifying to bring down costs by about 30%.”

Contractors across Dubai are having to renegotiate tenders, typically resulting in 15-20% being lopped off their money. The senior contractor says: “Contractors here had been enjoying margins of seven, eight or nine per cent. Now clients are trying to get us to take margins as low as three or even one per cent. They also want to lengthen programmes so that cash flow is less onerous. It’s chaos.”

More pain for consultants is arriving in the form of deferred payment plans. Mark Prior, head of the Middle East for EC Harris, says: “We are discussing deals that would mean we will be paid in six months’ time – or half of what we’re owed in three months and the rest in six.”

Other companies are understood to have been forced to accept payment in the forms of stakes in a development. George Grant, operations director for infrastructure at M&E specialist Drake & Scull, says: “We have no experience of taking equity instead of cash but we would consider it. Our view is we want to work with the clients if it means that work goes ahead.”

“We are doing a lot of reverse briefing of designers. We’re asking them to cut their fees by up to half and to change the materials specified”
Evan Anderson, Blair Anderson

Others are more wary. Anderson has refused payment in shares: “They offer you 1% of a development that you have had no involvement on and no idea how it works. If you invest in something you want to do detailed research on it.”

Meanwhile, the old model of developers paying contractors with money from sales of units in buildings before it has been completed is a thing of the past. Projects launched on this model are being refinanced. Under the new deals institutional investors are brought in and contractors are forced to accept deferred payments.

Anderson says: “The previous model based on off-plan sales is no longer viable, so total financing is being done by investment, and selling is happening when the building is under construction.”

As a result, development is less gung-ho, he adds, which in turn means people are earning lower fees over a longer period. Developments are being built in phases. “Before, a developer would build three high-rises at once; now they are building them one by one. They build a tower, sell it, then use the proceeds to build the next one.”

Such is the state of the market that those who are actually getting paid do not want to admit it. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the head of a British architect’s Dubai office said: “I would rather you didn’t put my name in your article because if other people working for my client find out that I’ve been paid, they’ll be demanding that the client pays them too, and then I’ll have to answer to the client.”

He says at the moment you have the best chance of being paid if you are needed to help with the process of putting a project on hold. “If you are not essential – that is, if you are not putting remedial works in place so the client can put work on hold – you will not get paid.”

Will developers ever pay?

The gravest concern of all is caused by rumours that some developers are about to go bust. Despite their government links, there is no guarantee the state will step in to save these firms. A source at a project manager in Dubai says: “It’s impossible to say whether the government will pay developers’ debts or not. State sponsorship is relatively loose here. Nobody knows whether certain developers are going to be mothballed, merged or go bust.”

Drake & Scull’s Grant, a Middle East veteran, says: “There’s no doubt some clients have run out of money and will disappear. Not the big names though, they need to renegotiate their finance deals but they will carry on.”

He may be right, but the question of when they will pay is still causing UK firms to fret. Emaar, to take one developer, has just had its debt downgraded by Standard & Poor, the ratings agency, from –A to BBB+. It made a loss of 1.6bn dirhams (£304m) in the last quarter of 2008. Meanwhile, the government has warned that the economy may shrink in the second half of 2009.

Most developers are declining to comment on the payment issue, including Nakheel. A spokesperson from developer Limitless did speak to us and insisted that all creditors would be paid. She said: “We’re renegotiating some payment plans, but not all, as part of our overall response to the global situation.”

An Emaar spokesperson also sent the following statement: “Payments for contractors and consultants are based on a credit cycle and set deliverables agreed with them. All payments that meet the criteria have been honoured and will continue to be cleared, in line with our agreements.”

But for those still waiting to be paid and suffering, what recourse is there? Another source says: “Historically, if you’re not getting paid here, you don’t rock the boat; the last thing you do is resort to litigation. But now people are getting highly emotional. If you’re working on a huge project and you recruited a huge team to do it, and you’re owed millions, well maybe it is time to sue.”

He adds that he expects to see “some big disputes in the next three months”, which is perhaps ironic considering that Dubai is aiming to become a regional dispute resolution centre. Prior is among those who admit that “litigation is an option we have our eye on”. It’s a statement that would have been unthinkable in Dubai a year ago.

As the legal cases loom (see box, previous page), it’s clear that relations between clients and project teams are strained to the limit. The head of another UK consultancy, who asked not be named, revealed a conversation he had with a senior emirati working for a big developer. “I said to him, if I don’t get my money, I will sue. He said, you will never work in Dubai again. I said, why would I want to?”

Disputes in Dubai

Dubai’s legal system is facing a sudden rush of disputes, and there are doubts about how well it is going to handle them. The first problem is the absence of adjudication. Paul Taylor, a partner at lawyer HBJ Gateley Wareing, says: “Unlike in the UK, there is no quick fix in Dubai. Here, arbitration and litigation, are the only ways to get your money.” Even worse, arbitration in Dubai takes up to two years – even longer than in the UK.

Another problem is certification. Of course, getting an engineer’s certificate proving you have done the work and are therefore entitled to be paid is an important piece of ammunition in the fight for your fee. However, in Dubai, Taylor says many contracts include a clause saying that an engineer cannot approve a piece of work without the client’s sign off. “These clauses are being disputed, but it’s still tough.”

People are looking at alternative methods of resolving disputes. Next month a “mediation centre” is being set up that will fast-track dispute resolution through an independent party. Taylor says it is a mid step between amicable settlement and arbitration and could resolve a dispute in two or three weeks. The problem, though, is that it will only work if both parties voluntarily accept the verdict.

Most projects are on the FIDIC contract. The 1999 version contains a clause that allows the use of a dispute resolution board, which can take six to 12 weeks. Earlier versions of the contract do not tend to offer this option.

Even if you do resolve a dispute to your satisfaction, then you have the problem of enforcing the decision. Taylor recommends a “more commercial” way of tackling a dispute. “Knock on the client’s door and try to explain your difficulties face to face. And get your local sponsor to act as an intermediary.” As a last resort, you can threaten to terminate the work you’re doing for the client – an approach that will only work if the project is continuing.

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The British government is being asked to help U.K. investors in Dubai who fear losing millions of dollars in the sheikdom’s collapsing property market.

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 27, 2009


source WallstreetJournal by Stefania Bianchi

A group of investors based in the U.K. have sent a petition to Prime Minister Gordon Brown asking him to intervene in what they claim are “harmful real-estate practices” in the United Arab Emirates.

“We as investors have recently discovered the blatant embezzlement of our money by unscrupulous developers,” the petition, seen by Zawya Dow Jones, says. The petition was referred by Downing Street to the Foreign Office.

“We have been contacted by individual investors,” a spokesperson for the U.K. Foreign & Commonwealth Office told Zawya Dow Jones. “The FCO takes this matter seriously.

A near 50% fall in real estate prices in some parts of Dubai has spurred a rash of increasingly ugly real estate disputes between developers and investors. The industry accounts for 30% of the emirate’s economy.

The Dubai Land Department estimates that British investors own property worth 4.7 billion U.A.E. dirhams ($1.3 billion) in the emirate. British buyers now account for 12% of international property investors in the emirate, behind Saudis and Indian buyers, according to regional investment bank EFG Hermes.

The involvement of the British government on behalf of disgruntled property buyers will further damage the reputation of Dubai as it struggles to clean up its financial image and attract foreign investment that’s vital for its economy.

The Foreign Office spokesperson said that while the British government would advise investors on how to resolve disputes “ultimately this is a legal matter between the interested parties.”

Dubai’s Real Estate Regulatory Authority, the government watchdog, didn’t respond to written questions from Zawya Dow Jones, but Thursday said it plans to set up new “real-estate communities” to increase transparency.

INTERVENTION<br />

British national Nick Jasani is one of a group of investors who is lobbying parliamentary representatives to put pressure on Downing Street to intervene in the rising number of disputes on their behalf.

Jasani, who bought a commercial unit from a developer in Dubai’s Business Bay district for AED2 million in early 2007, is worried because construction at the project hasn’t started, even though he’s already paid AED640,000 or 30% of the unit’s value.

He said the Dubai-based developer is still demanding payment installments even though they’re not working on the project.

A letter seen by Zawya Dow Jones and sent by a number of individual investors to Members of Parliament states that “even though projects have no hope of going ahead due to the current financial climate, the money (investors) they have put down may not be refunded.”

As the bottom falls out of Dubai’s once-soaring property market, developers are scrambling to respond. Many are being forced to cancel or delay projects amid falling sales and property prices.

Last month, a report by investment bank Morgan Stanley (MS) said the United Arab Emirates is delaying or canceling real-estate projects worth more than $260 billion. An earlier HSBC PLC (HBC) report said Dubai is delaying or canceling almost 60 projects worth $75 billion.

Amid growing uncertainty about whether they’ll see their money again, investors are organizing themselves to take on the emirate’s sometimes unscrupulous developers and convoluted real-estate regulations.

This week a group of more than 100 investors delivered a petition signed by more than 350 investors to Dubai developer Nakheel’s office urging the firm to reschedule payment plans for villas on Palm Jebel Ali because of delays.

This followed a petition to Emaar Properties (EMAAR.AI), the Middle East’s largest developer, requesting the cancellation of three of its projects.

Nakheel didn’t respond to questions from Zawya Dow Jones.

“There are certainly a number of investors who seem to have claims with merit. Others simply have been caught out by a falling market and insufficient contractual protection,” said Matthew Hooton, head of real estate in the Middle East for law firm Ashurst.

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