By Sarah Townsend
Agents require government approval for real estate adverts from this week
Dubai listings website Dubizzle has forecast a short-term drop in property adverts as new requirements to regulate real estate “announcements” take effect this week.
The website is preparing for changes in its listings format to include government permit numbers for all property advertisements, it told Arabian Business.
As of Sunday, registered real estate agents operating in the emirate require government approval for property advertisements they wish to place on- or offline.
Dubai’s Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) sent a circular to agents last week warning that from October 2 they must apply for permits via the new ‘Trakhees’ e-service.
After that date, any property listing that does not have a corresponding permit number will be “dismissed” and legal action can be brought against non-compliant firms.
The move is intended to increase transparency in the property market and weed out false advertising, Rera said in a statement. It claimed that permits would be granted within a maximum of two working days.
While not a registered agent, property listings website Dubizzle told Arabian Business it would be affected by the changes. In particular, the number of adverts carried on its website is expected to fall in the immediate term as agents seek approval from the government for live and pending ads.
However, Dubizzle added that it views the new rules as a “healthy step” towards better regulation of the market.
Ann Boothello, senior product marketing manager, property, at Dubizzle, said: “As the new rules get adopted by agencies, it will be the agent’s responsibility to get the permit depending on how strongly the procedure is enforced.
“It will be an adoptive process – some will be quick to implement the procedure within their agencies and there will be others who will delay the process.
“Dubizzle reflects the stock that real estate agencies put out to the market. If that means that more regulated stock delivers less ads to our platform, then we will reflect that and have fewer but better quality ads.”
She added: “It has never been about quantity for us; we already take down ads proactively if we detect that they are ‘bogus’ or duplicated.”
Boothello said she did not envisage that the new requirements would cause problems or administrative headaches for Dubizzle – “In fact, we see this as a healthy step towards further regulating the property market and ensuring that advertised properties are legitimate without adding on too much red tape.”
However, she said Dubizzle would be forced to align its services to support enforcement of the new rules by Rera, for example by adding a field for each listing that showcases the property permit number generated through the Trakhees system.
Dubizzle already takes steps to prevent false adverts from going live – it requires all UAE agents posting on the website to submit documents to prove their credibility and employs a team responsible for removing duplicated adverts on a daily basis.
However, Boothello said is not currently possible for aggregating websites such as Dubizzle to completely eradicate false adverts.
“There is no way for any portal to determine the number of ‘bogus’ ads, as there are no standard unique property reference numbers per unit used across all agencies, nor is there a single database that states that a unit is rented out or sold.
“This would have allowed us to know availability or how many different agencies may have listed the same unit,” she said.
“However, as an intermediary, we do our part to raise awareness on why agents should not post ‘bogus’ ads to farm leads or duplicate ads, and have strict posting rules on our platform.”
Announcing the new regulations on Sunday, Ali Abdulla Al Ali, director of Rera’s Real Estate Licensing Department, explained: “This announcement reflects Rera’s commitment to protect investors and regulate the market by preventing the emergence of any irregularities.
“However, the investor should act carefully to protect himself by checking all documents and by requesting information from the broker about the property offered.
“Customers can now easily check licensed brokers as well as the validity of ownership data through the ‘Dubai Brokers’ smart application.”
a few?!!!! more like half......