Essential Guide: Dubai Land Department
Established in 1960 to oversee the development of Dubai’s nascent property sector, the Dubai Land Department (DLD) has overseen every step of the market’s development over the past 60+ years.
The DLD is a division of the Executive Council of Dubai, headed by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai.
Overseeing Dubai’s property boom
Since the government’s decision in 2005 to allow foreign investors to purchase freehold properties in Dubai, the DLD has signed off on millions of property transactions, while regulating the constructions of thousands of new housing and commercial developments.
The value of these transactions has increased exponentially over the past 16 years. For example, in the January-August period of this year, Dubai has seen US$24 billion-worth of property transactions, representing a 22.6% increase compared to those recorded during the whole of 2020.
Over the past decade, the DLD has also introduced more stringent regulations to protect buyers, particularly in the wake of the 2008 economic downturn, which resulted in a small number of developers defaulting.
To this aim, the Dubai government established the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA), which has played a direct role in regulating the industry and enforcing full legal rights for property owners and investors.
Today, Dubai is recognised as one of the world’s top property investment markets, with a peerless regulatory environment that safeguards foreign investors, who are the lifeblood of the market.
In 2013, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, issued Law No. (7) 2013 defining the DLD’s objectives as the government entity responsible for the registration, organisation, and promotion of real estate investments in Dubai.
The DLD’s stated goal is to establish Dubai as the world’s top property investment market “in terms of innovation, trust, and investor happiness”.
To reach this goal, the DLD is highly active in promoting Dubai real estate opportunities in international markets, while also highlighting the additional benefits offered to investors, such as residency visas in the form of retirement and 5-year property visas.
New innovations simplifying investment avenues
The DLD is also seen as an innovator in providing property owners and investors with the latest technologies designed to help them better manage their property assets.
The department recently introduced Dubai REST, an app that provides access to key DLD services and enables owners to access a property’s ownership certificate, or replace a lost title deed, among other services.
Using the app, owners can also request valuations for their properties (whether vacant lands or housing units) and access online services provided by DLD organisations, including the Registration and Real Estate Services Sector, Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA), Rental Disputes Centre, and the Real Estate Promotion and Investment Management Sector. The app grants customers easy access to these services as well as updates on real estate projects and the option to enquire about particular developments.
Another key DLD service that benefits investors is Mo’asher, Dubai’s official sales price index. Mo’asher, which is updated monthly, has helped boost investor confidence and transparency in Dubai’s real estate market since its launch in 2019.
The DLD’s Real Estate Development Guide, which is published in conjunction with more than 23 governmental and non-governmental agencies, is also considered a valuable reference tool for real estate investors and developers.
The guide provides an overview of Dubai’s real estate development processes through three main stages: approval of a project’s general plans, building licensing and completion, and sales and marketing.
“DLD continues to play an important and vital role in the UAE’s path towards enhancing innovation and digital transformation through several innovative services that facilitate customer procedures, enhance investor trust, and strengthen the position of Dubai’s real estate sector, which is one of the most globally prominent,” comments HE Sultan Butti bin Mejren, Director-General of DLD.
“Our services and innovations across our various sectors and organisations are consistent with the UAE’s preparations for the next 50 as well as with the wise leadership’s efforts to rank first in all fields worldwide.”
As one of Dubai’s leading property developers, The First Group maintains a very strong working relationship with the DLD.
In 2017, the DLD recognised The First Group’s premium reputation in the marketplace and its efforts to promote the growth of the emirate’s real estate sector, by granting the firm the prestigious DLD Appreciation Award – a rare honour only bestowed to a select few developers in the city.