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      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 ‘investor’

Dubai property owners treated like puppets – Loss off confidence swamps Real Estate Market

Posted by 7starsdubai on August 16, 2009


August 15. 2009 11:34AM GMT

DUBAI // Rashmey Seth paid Dh3.2 million for two luxury flats, furnished them and rented them out. That was nearly two years ago – but she is still not sure she actually owns the properties.

Receipts from Nakheel confirm that she paid the state-backed developer in full for a three-bedroom flat on the Palm Jumeirah. Mrs Seth has similar paperwork for a one-bedroom unit in downtown Burj Dubai, purchased last year from Emaar, the Middle East’s largest developer.

What she has not received from either of the property giants are title deeds – the crucial documents that verify ownership.

It is a predicament shared by many, their status as lawful owners in limbo because of the absence of a piece of paper that, after properties are registered with the Dubai Land Department, should be handed to buyers.

The issue, says Mrs Seth, makes her wonder whether she has a legal right to sell her flats.

She is by no means the only property owner in Dubai worried about not having deeds to the flats she has paid for. Without deeds, it is unclear what would happen if the company they bought their property from went bankrupt.

There could also be problems with selling the property on: potential buyers could find it difficult to get a mortgage without formal proof of ownership.

In Mrs Seth’s case, her dilemma has shaken her confidence in Dubai’s freehold property laws, introduced three years ago to give foreigners the right of ownership.
“Why am I not getting the comfort that there’s a legal structure to support me, that makes me feel sure that I really own my property?” said Mrs Seth, 52, an Indian who has lived and worked in Dubai for 28 years.

Her fears are not unfounded. Law Number 7 of 2006 states that until flats are registered with the Land Department, which will then grant title deeds, buyers lack the rights of fully fledged owners.

In an email statement, Emaar did not specify how many of its property holders had not had units registered or lacked deeds.

Nakheel said the “majority of … purchasers who have taken handover have received their title deeds”.

Given the size of Nakheel’s development portfolio, that could still mean thousands have not received them.

There are indications that a substantial number of buyers across Dubai lack deeds. After posting a query on Crest of Dubai, a website used by residents of the Palm Jumeirah, The National received nearly two dozen complaints.

And Michael Aldendorff, a 39-year-old South African who is one of the leaders of an informal homeowners’ group in the Discovery Gardens development, reckoned that most buyers in the 26,000-apartment community lacked deeds.

“I don’t think that many people here have them at all,” he said.

That, however, has not stopped developers from asking purchasers to pay to get their deeds.
Mrs Seth said she was asked to hand over about Dh55,000 for flat-registration fees to Emaar and Nakheel. She said she had little choice but to comply; according to Land Department regulations, a buyer cannot register a property without the developer’s consent.

“They take these undated cheques from you, and they bank it at their will, so what can you do about it?” she said of Emaar and Nakheel.

“If there is a delay or something from the Land Department in getting the registration, or the documentation is not ready from the developer’s side, then why are they taking my money?”

Sabri Pozem, who owns a one-bedroom flat in Discovery Gardens, in which he has a tenant, wonders whether the authorities – or anyone apart from himself – have records of his purchase.

Mr Pozem, a 29-year-old from Turkey, is one of the owners in the development who complain about disorganisation among Tamweel, the mortgage lender, Nakheel, the master developer, and property companies which, after purchasing Discovery Gardens apartment buildings from Nakheel, have sold them as flats to individual buyers.

He said a salesperson with the company he bought his flat from entered the property last month and began showing it off to a prospective buyer. His tenant had just come out the shower and was wearing only a towel when she encountered the surprise visitors.

“The problem is, they are so disorganised they don’t even know who bought which apartment in the building,” said Mr Pozem, who said he had tried many times to obtain his deed and has had no success.

He fears that if he wanted to sell his flat, the records would show it was still owned by the property firm. “If they go bankrupt tomorrow, I’m basically out of luck; all my money’s gone because I don’t have a title deed.”

Mr Pozem is not the only owner worried that without deeds they might not be able to sell their units.

Anne, 37, a British national, bought two one-bedroom flats in the Dubai Marina’s Marina Promenade in August last year and two more in Green Lakes Towers in Jumeirah Lake Towers. Despite investing nearly Dh4m, she does not have a deed for any of them.

Anne, who asked that only her middle name be published, said her main concern was that banks would refuse a mortgage to prospective purchasers without a deed, an increasingly common requirement after the credit crunch.

She also said Emaar, the developer of Marina Promenade, and Asam Investment & Real Estate, the Green Lakes Towers developer, had been little help.

“I’ve been given exactly the same reasoning: ‘there’s a queue at the Land Department; expect to hear from us in September’.”

A senior administrator at Asam Investment & Real Estate, who gave his name only as Abraham, told The National that a backlog at the Land Department was responsible for the delay.

In Green Lakes Towers, he said, about 700 units in the three towers were still waiting to be registered.

“We cannot do them individually; we have to register the whole tower together,” he said. He added that he hoped the process could be completed within a month.
Humaid al Shamsi, the head of the transactions section at the Land Department, acknowledged the issue.

Eighty per cent of the buildings on the Palm Jumeirah have been registered, he said, but he did not have details of how many flats had been registered or title deeds granted.

At Jumeirah Lake Towers, he said, “the process has been started now.” He attributed any delay to “extra measurements” being done to the buildings.

Emaar declined to give reasons for delays in handing over deeds, but said in an email that it “works closely with the Dubai Land Department to assist its customers during the process, including having a representative from the Land Department available for assistance at the Emaar Property Handover office.”

However, Karim Nassif, a property lawyer at Habib al Mulla & Co, said the slowdown in the property market meant a logjam at the Land Department was an unlikely cause for the problem.

In most cases of undelivered title deeds, he said, “the developer should be held liable – 100 per cent – for it. They should be delivering their title deeds”.

And he had a warning for the worried owners: “If they don’t have the title deed, their transaction, according to the law, is voidable.”

original source The National

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Dubai `s glitzy property market is in trouble – no doubt about that

Posted by 7starsdubai on July 29, 2009


Western investors fear Dubai`s Wild East reputation.

Dubai’s property market is in trouble, there’s no doubt about that. Just take a look at the hundreds of motionless cranes, unfinished projects and the expats who are leaving in droves as they lose their jobs.

And prices and rents which soared during a six-year boom have crashed since late last year. According to one resident who recently moved in the City, it now costs 150,000 dirhams to rent a three-bedroom flat on the Palm, a man-made island off the coast of the emirate, around the same it would have cost to rent a one-bedroom appartment there a year ago.

It’s not just the global downturn thats the concern for Dubai’s once-booming property market, but also the lack of transparency and need for greater regulation. And that’s what’s going to keep the western investor from splashing the cash.

Investors looking at Dubai’s real estate sector are a different breed. They are no longer looking to snap up properties in the hope of making a quick buck. They are more conservative with a longer term outlook.

“RERA (the Real Estate Regulatory Authority) has been trying to introduce regulation to minimise the impact of speculative investors,” said Andrew White, head of Middle East operations at UK-based investor Kenmore property Group.

“But some have said this is like shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted because the downturn has more or less wiped these out anyway.” So, a little too late perhaps ? And what about the recently announced planned merger of Emaar Properties, builder of the world’s tallest tower, with
three other local property firms?

Well, so far no one really knows. Simply put, there has been little in the way of information about this.

“If you look at Emaar and the potential merger, there is little financial clarity on how this will proceed and that is going to worry investors,” said Bobby Sarkar, analyst at Al Mal Capital. ”The U.S. and European markets have high levels of clarity in terms of regulation, but that isn’t the case here.”
 
There is no doubt however that the government is trying to improve regulation and transparency. Several wins for the property market over the last year include the introduction of a monthly rental index and new laws for property maintenance, not to forget the continuing effort to crack down on corruption.

But there is a long way to go and more is needed for Dubai to come close to rivalling mature markets such as the UK and U.S. which offer the longer-term investor the transparency they crave.

original source Reuters

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Dubai Property Market – Flippers, skippers, runners, survivors battle it out

Posted by 7starsdubai on July 19, 2009


source PropertyWeekly

‘Flipping’, ‘skipping’ and ‘running’ are relatively new terms in the argot of Dubai’s property market. Many would know about at least one person who has done one of the three ‘disrespectful’ things, and may even be aware of several more via the city’s thriving rumour mill.

The residents who remain also have a new nomenclature for themselves — the ‘survivors’.

New players experiment with speculation

Flipping was hitherto the activity of buying and selling property instantly, and solely for instant profit. Despite the impression that this dangerous game is a thing of yore and was once the exclusive prerogative of high risk takers, it is not, and has attracted new players.

Flipping was once restricted to incomplete properties, but they are now doing it with credit notes. Also, flippers are not necessarily risk takers; some are trying to recover investments gone awry, while others are desperate for much needed cash.

Offloading multiple units

AR is a classic flipper. In December 2007, he owned three apartments — on paper — at various buildings in Dubai Marina. By September 2008, he had sold two for a cumulative profit of Dh1.23 million, despite the fact that both were not ready for occupation.

“I am lucky that I disposed them of before it was time to start paying my mortgages and before the economic downturn,” he says. “If things get bad, I will move into the one I still own, so no money lost. But, many other people who acted impulsively have done badly. I know some really sad stories and consider myself blessed.”

However, despite his narrow escape from steep losses, AR cannot shed his innate instincts. When questioned, he admits that he has purchased a credit note for 60 per cent of its face value, and is looking for a buyer who will take it off him for a profit.

Skippers caved in

Skippers are other risk takers like AR, but who didn’t have the sense, instincts, or gumption to offload their properties when the market soured. When they could not find buyers and saw alarming drops in prices, they caved.

Faced with the prospect of bounced cheques, rising debts and the threat of unemployment, some of these foolhardy investors just upped and left, or skipped.

Skippers are not available for quotes, but TQ who left the country in the first week of February is believed to have invested in no less than six properties across the country. A feat made possible by two facts: he was the creative director of an advertising agency and had a substantial salary, and he dealt with an Islamic bank that allows customers to have multiple mortgages.

Coincidentally, the day he lost his job is also the day he realised that the next set of payments towards his property portfolio totalled Dh246,000, and also, that there were no prospects of serious buyers on the anvil, for any of them.

Forfeiting down payments

His simple solution was to forfeit the nominal down payments he had made on the said properties, and to head back to his native country to sit out the storm. In his case, he paid off his credit cards, cleared his lesser debts, and told his bank that he was giving up his claim on the many apartments he owned.

Trail of debts

Runners, on the other hand, don’t bother doing any of the latter or the formalities associated with relocating from the country. One minute they are in Dubai, revelling in their enviable status as the owners of several properties, and the next minute, they are simply missing from the country, with only the trail of debts proving they lived here. They could now be anywhere.

Finally, those who have heard the horror stories and heaved heavy sighs say they too need a moniker for not falling into any of the above categories.

Ordinary residents who continue to pay rent on their homes, have strongly resisted the urge to invest in property. Those who actually live in the properties they purchased say they are just holding tight.

BJ owns a modest studio flat at The Greens and his brother MJ rents a one-bedroom apartment at Dubai Marina, and by their own admission, they worry about the appalling state of the world, just as much as they are alarmed about their own job security… or the possible lack of it.

According to MJ, their mission is to put away and save as much money as they can every month just so that they are not taken unawares by any unpleasant surprises — be it falling prices, increased rents, unexpected payments or unplanned debts.

“All those people we hear about have titles that classify them into categories. We believe that the rest of us who live in Dubai and eke out an everyday existence without running, skipping or flipping need one too. Just call us the ‘survivors’,” say the brothers.

And they are not being sardonic.

Flippers now deal in credit notes

• Despite the impression that flipping is a thing of yore and was once the exclusive prerogative of high risk takers, it has attracted new players
• Flipping was once restricted to incomplete properties, but they are now doing it with credit notes
• Also, flippers are not necessarily risk takers; some are trying to recover investments gone awry, while others are desperate for much needed cash
• Skippers are other risk takers, but who didn’t have the sense, instincts, or gumption to offload their properties when the market soured
• Runners simply go missing from the country, leaving behind a huge trail of debts

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