As the Dubai property market evolves there are a number of actions being taken to bring a level of credibility and maturity to the market. This is something that won't happen overnight, but it is good to see that the Emirate is making an effort to guide things in the right direction in any case.
Dubai's government formed Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA) has issued a list of agents and developers who have been officially licensed, paving the way for greater transparency and security for property investors in Dubai.
You'll find the full 'official' list of developers here. If you're looking for an agent (broker) in Dubai there's an official listing of them as well, you'll find it here.
Law No. 8 has also been introduced which is described by RERA as 'A Law to Regulate Developers and to Protect Purchasers’ Payments in Off-Plan Transactions'. Published on June 28th 2007 it means that a developer wishing to sell units off the plan must apply to the Department to open a 'Guarantee Account', basically an escrow account. This account is opened in the name of the project and the proceeds can only be used exclusively for the purposes of constructing that particular project. The developer’s creditors are not allowed to attach any liens to the money deposited in this account.
This is all being done in an effort to promote greater transparency in the market, which can only be a good thing. One worrying factor, however, is the statement that; "Big companies that enjoy good reputation and have strong guarantees have been exempted." This would, for any red blooded citizen of a mature democracy send red lights flashing. In other words, if you're a buddy of the guys in RERA, you don't necessarily need to have any escrow account, your clients can go to hell if you fold and their money is lost in a big black hole.
Not good guys. OK, so it's Dubai and its owners can do what they like with it, but to gain some credibility outside of their own domain it is necessary to get everybody operating under the same rules. Otherwise no-one will take any of this seriously, and rightly so.
RERA, it said, will work in 2008 to make the real estate market free of unlicensed property developers to guarantee the rights of all parties, whether investors or developers. Of course all of its buddies are no doubt licensed already at this stage.