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On 4 September 2019, the Ruler of Dubai issued Decree no. 27 of 2019 in respect of the reduction and exemption from certain fees and penalties in the Emirate of Dubai (the “New Decree”). The New Decree was published in the Official Gazette on 24 September 2019.
In Dubai, the transfer of ownership or title to a real estate asset from one person to another triggers liability for payment of a land transfer fee which is collected by the Dubai Land Department pursuant to the Dubai Executive Council Resolution No. 30 of 2013 approving the fees concerning the Land Department (the “Fees Resolution”). The land transfer fee must be paid to the Dubai Land Department by no later than sixty (60) days from the date of the relevant disposition. Failure to pay the fee within the foregoing timeframe could result in a penalty that amounts to double the prescribed fee.
The land transfer fee is also levied by the Dubai Land Department with respect to direct and indirect transfers of interests in companies owning real estate assets in Dubai. Any direct or indirect change in shareholders’ equity for the real estate owning company is, therefore, considered a transfer of the real estate asset itself which requires notification to the Dubai Land Department and payment of the applicable fees.
Article 4 of the New Decree stipulates that any person who failed to register real estate dispositions with the Dubai Land Department and failed to pay the relevant transfer fees that were applicable prior to the implementation of the New Decree shall be exempt from the obligation to provide full payment of the penalty under the Executive Council Resolution no. 6 of 2010 and the Fees Resolution provided that they procure the registration and payment of the fees within the timeframes set out in Annex 3 of the New Decree. In this case, these persons could benefit from the following discounted rates on the penalty payments that they are liable to pay to the Dubai Land Department:
|Timeframe for registration and payment of the fees||Rate of discount on penalty|
|Registration and payment effected within three (3) months from the date of entry into effect of the New Decree (i.e. between 4 September 2019 and 3 December 2019).||
|Registration and payment effected after the lapse of three (3) months from the date of entry into effect of the New Decree but before the lapse of six (6) months in total (i.e. between 4 December 2019 and 3 March 2020).||
|Registration and payment effected after the lapse of six (6) months from the date of entry into effect of the New Decree but before the lapse of nine (9) months in total (i.e. between 4 March 2020 and 3 June 2020).||
|Registration and payment effected after the lapse of nine (9) months from the date of entry into effect of the New Decree but before the lapse of twelve (12) months in total (i.e. between 4 June 2020 and 3 September 2020).||
Al Tamimi’s real estate team has considerable experience advising clients on compliance issues, including those in connection with the registration of property rights and payment of governmental fees and penalties. Bearing in mind that the New Decree has implications not only on direct real estate asset transfers, but also on the direct and indirect transfer of interests in property-owning companies, our team can assist corporate clients in analysing transactions to determine whether they resulted in any land transfer fee exposure and then develop a remedial strategy to ensure compliance with applicable laws in a cost effective manner. The discounted rates on penalty payments provided for in the New Decree are time sensitive and so it would benefit clients to consider these issues at the earliest opportunity.
Allied to the foregoing is our certification by the Dubai Land Department as Real Estate Lawyers which enables us to fast-track the disclosure process and therefore achieve excellent results for our clients in relatively shorter periods than would otherwise be required.
Please contact our Real Estate lawyers if you have any questions regarding the New Decree in particular, or if you would like to discuss real estate compliance issues in general.