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Navigating Legal Aspects of Buying Real Estate in Dubai

June 20, 2024 | by Evinbanton

Investing in real estate in Dubai offers unparalleled opportunities in one of the world’s most dynamic property markets. However, navigating the legal aspects of buying real estate requires a thorough understanding of local regulations, procedures, and documentation. This guide aims to provide essential insights into the legal framework of buying property in Dubai, ensuring that you can confidently pursue the best real estate opportunities while safeguarding your interests.

Understanding Ownership Structures

In Dubai, property ownership is structured into different categories that dictate ownership rights for expatriates and non-residents:

  1. Freehold Ownership: Non-UAE nationals can acquire freehold ownership of property in designated freehold areas. These areas are typically developed by private developers and offer full ownership rights, including the right to sell, lease, or rent the property.
  2. Leasehold Ownership: Non-UAE nationals can also acquire leasehold rights for up to 99 years in certain areas designated as leasehold by the Dubai government. Leasehold properties provide similar rights to freehold properties but for a specified lease period.
  3. Commonhold Ownership: This ownership structure allows for joint ownership of common areas in a building or development, typically used for apartments and condominiums.

Before proceeding with a property purchase, verify the ownership structure applicable to the property and ensure it aligns with your investment goals and eligibility as a non-UAE national.

Legal Documentation and Procedures

The legal process of buying real estate in Dubai involves several key documents and procedures:

  1. Sales Agreement: This contract outlines the terms and conditions of the property sale, including the purchase price, payment schedule, and obligations of both parties. Ensure the agreement is drafted in compliance with Dubai laws and regulations.
  2. Title Deed (Oqood): The Title Deed is the official document issued by the Dubai Land Department (DLD) that confirms ownership of the property. It includes details such as property location, size, ownership status, and any registered mortgages or liens.
  3. No Objection Certificate (NOC): If purchasing property in a jointly-owned building or community, obtain an NOC from the developer or homeowners’ association (HOA) confirming there are no outstanding dues or disputes related to the property.
  4. Power of Attorney: If unable to attend property transactions in person, you can appoint a legal representative through a Power of Attorney to act on your behalf. Ensure the Power of Attorney is notarized and complies with Dubai’s legal requirements.

Due Diligence and Verification

Before finalizing a property purchase, conduct thorough due diligence to verify the property’s legal status and compliance:

  1. Title Search: Request a title search from the DLD to confirm the property’s ownership status, any existing mortgages, and any legal disputes or restrictions affecting the property.
  2. Building Permits and Approvals: Verify that the property has all necessary permits and approvals from relevant authorities, ensuring compliance with building codes and regulations.
  3. Developer Reputation: Research the developer’s track record, project delivery history, and reputation in the market. Ensure the developer is registered with the DLD and adheres to regulatory standards.

Taxation and Fees

Understand the tax implications and fees associated with buying real estate in Dubai:

  1. Transfer Fees: Pay transfer fees to the DLD based on the property’s purchase price. Fees are typically calculated as a percentage of the property’s value.
  2. Registration Fees: Register the sale transaction with the DLD and pay applicable registration fees to obtain the Title Deed.
  3. Maintenance Fees: If purchasing property in a community or development, budget for ongoing maintenance fees to cover communal services and amenities.


Navigating the legal aspects of buying real estate in Dubai requires careful consideration of ownership structures, legal documentation, due diligence procedures, and financial obligations. By understanding Dubai’s regulatory framework and working with experienced real estate professionals and legal advisors, you can confidently navigate the property buying process and secure the best real estate opportunities aligned with your investment objectives. Ensure compliance with local laws, protect your interests, and enjoy the benefits of owning property in Dubai’s dynamic and competitive real estate market.



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