Ask the Agent - What are the documents required to modify and extend a villa?

Ask the Agent - What are the documents required to modify and extend a villa?Mohanad Alwadiya

- I bought a studio in 2008 financed by a lending firm. Since it is not finished yet, my lawyer told me to cancel the SPA but the lending firm did not agree.

Visit RERA first to sort out the registration issue in Oqood as this is a prerequisite to any further action. Once the property is registered, meet with the lending company. Explain to them that you would like to terminate the finance agreement due to project delay. They will share with you the status of your liability. You then need to obtain compensation from the developer for the delay. Appoint a lawyer to determine if your contract has the proper compensation clause to support your case. If so, plot a course of action to receive what is rightfully yours under the contract. From the information you have provided, it appears that once the course of action is determined, you need to engage all parties and alert them of your intentions. It is then a case of you and your lawyer taking the necessary legal steps to resolve it.

- I have an apartment that I have let through an agent. Despite numerous reminders, the agent has refused to pay me. What actions can I take?

The issue here is that you allowed the checks to be issued under the agent's name. There is no reason to have allowed this and, unfortunately, the decision to do so has placed you in a vulnerable position.

I am not sure of the details of the contract that you have with your agent, but unless you have a proper property management agreement in place with a licensed property management firm, you should never allow the checks to be issued under the agent's name.

Even if you have a property management agreement, you should stipulate that all cheques be issued in your favour and the property management firm is authorised to receive, issue receipts and bank the cheques into your account.

I am afraid your only option is to hire a legal consultant and go to court and file a legal case against the agent.

- My husband and I bought an unfinished penthouse from a non-Emirati guy. Does he have to register it first so he can sell it?

Whatever happens, the penthouse must be registered first. Nothing can happen to affect the legal transfer of ownership of a property unless it is registered first. With regard to MOUs, they come in different formats with different content to suit the particular transaction at hand and each party's wishes. If you want to ensure that it is legally binding, I suggest you hire a lawyer to draft it for you. Once the property is registered, you should visit the Dubai Land Department office or any of the trustee transfer offices and conduct the transfer of the property there. It appears to me that you have limited experience in concluding a property transaction such as this. My best advice for you is to hire a professional property consultant to take you through this journey in a professional and smooth manner.

- I want to modify and extend my villa. What are the documents required and the procedures to be followed when it comes to making alterations?

You need to establish that the amendments do not threaten the structural integrity or safe habitation of your villa by you or by future owners should you decide to sell it one day. Therefore, you should prepare the architectural and MEP drawings for the proposed concept. These need to be viewed in conjunction with the architectural and MEP ''as-built drawings'' by different authorities and regulatory bodies to ensure the proposed designs are structurally sound and meet the building codes. You need to obtain NOCs from the owners association, zoning authorities, Civil Defence and even the project developer and DEWA. If the renovation is extensive, you may be required to have the work inspected by the Civil Defence and the Building Department. Your architect or contractor can arrange for all approvals on your behalf. Engage professionals who can achieve this for you.

- Question of the Week: I know that the market has slowed but is the slowdown being experienced across the board, or do some areas still look promising?

There is no doubt that the affordable segment in Dubai still shows a lot of promise. The properties in this segment will be in high demand as the emirate's strong population continues to grow on the back of a strong economic recovery.

Properties located in non-prime areas continue to do very well. With the recovery in real estate going from strength to strength, we have witnessed the more affordable or secondary areas of the market continue to do well.

The demand for this type of affordable accommodation has been growing steadily as Dubai's population swells in the run-up to the Expo and the demand for affordable housing increases.

Examples of affordable projects that are providing good rental returns and expected capital appreciation are the Skycourts and Queue Point located in Dubailand.

Other affordable residential destinations are the International Media Production Zone, International City and Discovery Gardens. These established communities offer a wide range of housing options for families and singles alike.

There is also the new project Town Square, offering ''value'' apartments to newcomers in the city and families.

Ask the Agent - Which communities should I view for investing in ready properties?

Source: Mohanad Alwadiya, Special to Freehold

The writer is Managing Director - Harbor Real Estate

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