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International City in Dubai – is this the place to set up a property portfolio?

Posted by Irish Manluctao on July 14, 2016
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Mario Volpi advises on the latest property issues. Pictured, International City in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National

I bought a studio flat in the Italy cluster of International City two years ago and want to buy four more by December. I believe the current market value of studio apartments in International City ranges from Dh380,000 to Dh400,00. Are prices expected to remain the same by winter or are they expected to rise? Also, I recall that the total expense of buying a property is about 7 per cent of the purchase price including the transfer fee, commission charges and other administration costs. Is that right? FF, Dubai

It is difficult to predict accurately which way a market is going – whether up, down or sideways. All we can do is look at the facts and based on these, make a measured prediction.

It is my opinion that the residential sales market will begin to see better movement in terms of actual sales later this year and definitely by the start of next year. How quickly this translates to increases in prices across residential properties specifically within International City is hard to predict but it is fair to say that at some point next year, prices look likely to increase. It is widely thought that the market will improve next year and given Expo 2020 will be just three years away, this trend is likely to continue for at least a couple of years further.

With reference to your second point, I agree with your estimation on the percentage cost but would just add that if the purchase is via a mortgage there is an additional 0.25 per cent to register the mortgage.

After three successive years of tenancy contracts, my landlord served me with a notarised legal notice informing me they would like me to vacate the property at the end of the current tenancy period. The notice states that the reason is that the landlord wishes to sell the property. The current situation is that the property is being marketed and I am assisting in that process by making it available for prospects to view. My question is this: if the property is not sold by the end of my current tenancy contract (which expires on August 31 this year), am I still required to vacate the property as per the notice, or am I able to request a new tenancy contract from the landlord because the property has not been sold? Are there any circumstances under which I may request a successive tenancy contract? JT, Dubai

If the reason for eviction is wishing to sell and subsequently the property doesn’t actually sell during the 12-month notice period, which also gets you to the end of your current lease, my advice would be to inform the landlord that you wish to renew for another year. If he doesn’t accept this, I would prepare a new contract, sign it and lodge with Rera the same number of cheques for the same rental amounts as before. They will then inform the landlord that they are in receipt of the rent money and request the landlord to come and collect it. If he still doesn’t accept, it would then be up to him to file a case against you at the rental dispute committee to attempt to follow through with your eviction. At this point, you will have the opportunity to inform the presiding judge that:

a) You wish to renew the lease for one more year;

b) You have left the rental cheques in the favour of the landlord with Rera;

c) You are co-operating with viewings during the marketing;

d) The property remains unsold.

The eventual decision as to whether you will be allowed to stay or not is up to the judge. If the judge finds in favour of the landlord and you are asked to vacate, the landlord will not be able to relet the property for two years from the date of your eviction. I would therefore keep all receipts of moving and expenses, including fees, and if you subsequently find out that the landlord has in fact relet the property before the two years have elapsed, you would be entitled for compensation.

Mario Volpi is a real estate professional who has worked in the industry for the past 31 years in London and Dubai. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and they do not reflect in any way those of the institutions to which he is affiliated. It does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only. Please send any questions tomariovolpi64@gmail.com.

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