President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in his capacity as the Ruler of Abu Dhabi, has issued a law regulating the right to own and transfer real estate for citizens and expatriates.
Law No 19 of 2005 states that every property granted by the government to a UAE citizen, before or after the issuance of the law, shall be his/her (the beneficiary's) property and it would therefore be obligatory on the citizen to register for property title.
He/she shall also, within the boundaries of the law, have the right to use, invest and take advantage of the property.
The law also says the Abu Dhabi Executive Council will lay down the rules for transfer of ownership of the properties given out before the issuance of the law.
The right to own properties, according to the law, shall be limited to UAE nationals and other corporate bodies fully owned by them.
Citizens of GCC states shall also be entitled to own properties, which shall be within the area designed for investment.
They shall also have the right to act on any liability of the properties. By-laws shall decide the rules, regulations and period of contract on those properties that fall outside the investment areas.
The law also states that non-UAE nationals shall have the right to own surface property, but not the land itself, in investment areas.
They shall have the right to arrange all their properties on it (surface) and to derive benefit from the real estate based on a long-term land title agreement which shall last for 99 years, or a long-term surface ownership agreement of 50 years renewable for the same period, subject to the agreement of both parties.
Anybody who has the right to benefit from the real estate both the land and its surface for a period exceeding 10 years shall have the right, even without due permission from the property owner, to act on it, including the right to mortgage it.
However, the owner of the property shall not mortgage it unless he gets approval from the one who has the right of benefit of the property or the surface.
In both cases, the law says, both parties have the right to agree on the contrary.
The Abu Dhabi Executive Council shall issue a decision on the by-laws on the investment areas and the method of provision of services to these areas, which shall not contravene or contradict the law.
The new law abrogates Emiri Decree No 33 of 1966, which deals with renting of land for building purposes. It also abrogates every ruling that contravenes or contradicts it.
The law, which takes effect from the date of its issuance, will be published in the official gazette.