Land Department fee rage

This is extremely frustrating.

The Land Department can charge what they want – it’s their country and they manage the market.

However, introducing the new fee with little more than a working week’s notice is not the right step to take, in my opinion. It leaves people who have already signed MoUs in a tight spot, as either buyer or seller is going to have to stump up a sizeable chunk of cash at very short notice or back out and pay even more whilst losing the property they have found – it is simply penalising the market that Dubai surely wants to have, namely people buying properties to live in, as opposed to speculative investors.

Regardless of whether the fees are higher or lower than other countries, it will cause a great deal of unnecessary short term pain and confusion due to the unexpected announcement and immediate implementation. Three months’ notice or , at the very least, an exemption for people who have signed MoUs should have been implemented.

This will not affect the practice of ‘flipping’ in the slightest, as you don’t pay the tax when flipping a property on to someone else.

The things which affect Dubai’s property market remain unchanged, therefore – uncertainty due to the expectation that random changes will be announced at the drop of a hat, off plan flipping can continue unabated and rents will continue to rise as owning a home for the ‘average’ person becomes even harder.

It also frustrates me when the only talk is of ‘investors’ and nothing about ‘homeowners’. The man with a suitcase of cash in town for a week is fine, people committed to Dubai are penalised. I wonder which investors were consulted during this process. Were any boring old homeowners consulted? What was the response from the investors? ‘Yes please, feel free to increase the costs, that’s a great idea, thanks’?

If a fee is to be increased as a way to generate revenue, that’s up to the Land Department. It seems a shame to dress a revenue raising method up as some kind of fiscal measure to manage the market in a proactive way. It’s astonishing to implement changes that affect such an important market in such a short timeframe.

As you may have guessed by now, we are looking at buying a new property. Unless we manage to get the endless reams of paperwork finished in four working days, as opposed to the 21 or so we had budgeted for, we are faced with paying thousands of dollars more – not just the new fee, but an extra month’s mortgage, service fees, etc. The fee is supposed to be split between buyer and seller. Even if our seller agrees to pay, we’re faced with unwanted negotiations and the seller is also obliged to stump up that chunk of unbudgeted cash. Do they even have it available? We’ll find out if we miss the deadline.

It’s also going to be chaos as all the banks, life insurers, developers and the Land Department itself will be inundated this week with people screaming for paperwork that usually (and inexplicably) takes days to complete to be sorted in a much shorter timeframe. I will be queuing from the early hours, much like someone waiting for a new iPhone, outside the relevant office on Weds morning. I bet I won’t be the only one.

Not happy.

On a positive note, my medical for the obligatory mortgage life insurance was absolutely fine. No issues at all – not that I expected any, but I am always paranoid. I did have to have my blood pressure checked twice – it was high the first time, due to my always being nervous at the doctor, but fine with the second test. Needless to say I am also not HIV+. If I guess right, I have been tested eight or nine times over the past eleven years for residence visas, Russian visas, insurance policies and the like. It’s getting a bit tiresome!

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