Saadiyat off-plan property buyer has to mull visa stumbling block

I am a single female, close to retirement age and currently in the process of purchasing an apartment off plan in Saadiyat (delivery is promised for 2016, but it’s most likely 2017). However, due to the increased number of layoffs and redundancies I am hearing about on a seemingly daily basis, I am wondering what my position would be if my current contract is not renewed this summer and I find myself without a residence visa – and with little hope of securing a new position at my age. In particular, what rights of residence (if any) would I have as a property owner? LC, Abu Dhabi

There are property related visas available throughout the seven emirates with the easiest one to organise being the renewable six month visa. There are some conditions, however, that need to be met such as the following:

• The cost of the property must be the equivalent of Dh1 million or above


• The title deed must be issued in the property owner’s name as this will be the same name on the subsequent residency visa

• Proof of income of at least Dh10,000 per month must also be provided

• Property visas are considered a type of visit visa, which need to be renewed and neither the holder nor the dependents would be permitted to work under this visa

• The property has to be complete

As you can see from the last point above, buying an off-plan property will not unfortunately make you eligible as the property you are buying is not complete.

Hopefully you will remain in employment a while longer or at least until the property is handed over. If you then still wish to apply for the visa the procedure is fairly straightforward. You can apply at the Abu Dhabi Department of Naturalisation, Residence and Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Interior. The cost is Dh1,100 plus renewal costs of the same.

I have issued an eviction notice to my tenant through the courts and they are supposed to vacate the property in mid June. Now they are requesting to extend the contract for just three months due to some health-related treatment issues. What can I do to make sure that they will definitely leave after three months? If I agree to let them stay, how can I make sure they will not demand a further extension through the rental committee after three months? They may be requesting this extension to make trouble. DS, Dubai

This problem is becoming quite common, judging by the correspondence I get from landlords such as yourself and I would describe it as a moral dilemma. On the one hand, you obviously would like to help your tenant but on the other, you have to be wary of the possibility that your generosity could cause you problems with gaining vacant possession in the future.

Please note that if you do extend the contract, the eviction notice already sent will become null and void and therefore to legally evict again would require another 12 months notice to be served.

That said, there is no one definitive answer to this but I would suggest the following to mitigate the possibility of problems further down the line: rather than just allow an extension to the existing contract, I suggest you draw up a new three-month agreement backing this up with a notarised letter from the tenant confirming they will vacate after this period or on a predetermined date.

There are indeed other ways you potentially could ask the tenant to ensure they vacate but I guess this will depend on the level you would wish to take on this. While nothing is guaranteed, I do believe that if you proceed along the lines of the above, the tenant shouldn’t cause you any further undue stress.

Mario Volpi is a real estate professional who has worked within 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 to mariovolpi64@gmail.com

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