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Mon 5 Nov 2007 04:00 AM

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Laying down the law

Cityscape was the ideal shop window for the new real estate laws introduced in Dubai over the last year.

As expected, the Cityscape Exhibition and Conference in Dubai was an impressive display of the scale of real estate investment and development taking place across the Middle East.

The event is now officially the biggest business-to-business real estate exhibition in the world. It took me several visits to the exhibition halls to take it all in.

Cityscape was the ideal shop window for the new real estate laws which have been introduced in Dubai over the last 12 months or so.

At Cityscape, Marwan Bin Ghalita, the CEO of the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA), said that RERA will regulate the real estate market without over-regulation, taking best practices from other parts of the world and applying them in Dubai. And RERA appears to be getting things right so far.

RERA launched its "All Green... Go" campaign during Cityscape. The campaign is designed to further assist real estate investors following the establishment of RERA and the introduction of Law Number 8 of 2007 concerning escrow accounts.

Its theme is three green traffic lights, representing registration of a real estate broker at RERA, the opening of an escrow account with a RERA-approved financial institution and the registration at RERA of the developer.

An investor needs to satisfy himself on all three counts before proceeding with a deal.

RERA's first corporate logo was also unveiled as part of the campaign. The logo represents the relationship between land, investors and agents, centred around Dubai creek.

Every developer registered with RERA will now display the logo.

This new campaign demonstrates RERA's willingness to help real estate investors understand recent legal and regulatory developments in Dubai.

Use of the RERA branding will benefit developers and agents and provide them with further credibility, particularly when dealing with potential foreign investors.

Exhibitors at Cityscape noticeably displayed RERA registration numbers on their stands, illustrating RERA's impact. This will soon become a legal requirement.

A media by-law is anticipated shortly, which will require a registration number, the name of a registered real estate broker and details of the bank at which an escrow account is held, to be displayed when a property is advertised for sale.

David Sanson is a senior legal consultant at legal services firm, DLA Piper in Dubai.

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