Dubai property brokers will need approval before issuing advertisements and social media campaigns under new rules.
Brokers this week received a circular from the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) alerting them to the need to apply for permits before issuing “any real estate announcements” – this includes print and radio ads, as well as those posted on social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Advertisements must carry a permit number from Rera.
Currently, only registered brokers are allowed to advertise properties in Dubai, but the new rules add in an extra step whereby advertisements require approval.
Companies need to apply to the Dubai Land Department for permits either through its website or the Trakhees system.
The new rules are due to come in force from Sunday. After this date, Rera has said that any announcements that do not have a corresponding permit number will be “dismissed”, and that firms who do not abide by its system face the prospect of legal action.
Ali Abdullah Al Ali, the director of DLD’s Real Estate Licensing Department, said that a number of fraud cases that Rera has dealt with in the past have included false advertising.
As a result, it has introduced the approval system and widened it to cover “all types of advertising, including social media”.
“We have issued a formal circular to all real estate companies operating in the emirate of Dubai giving them a deadline to get the required permits from the beginning of October.”
The circular has taken brokers by surprise, with several only finding out about it when contacted by The National for comment.
Craig Plumb, the head of research at JLL Mena, said there “has been very little publicity or communication about it.
“As with all such announcements, the effect will be entirely dependent upon how it is policed and enforced,” he said.
At its most benign, he argued it would be a “minor administrative hassle”, as there is nothing to indicate that Rera will edit or control the content of announcements, and there would be no reason for them not to provide permits to registered brokers.
“If enforced more rigidly, it could be seen as a means of limiting the amount of data that real estate companies are able to provide to potential buyers and other stakeholders.”
But he believes that this is unlikely to happen, as Rera is committed “to increasing the level of transparency in the marketplace and not reducing it”.
David Godchaux, the chief executive of Core Savills, welcomed that the agency “is taking care of all of the players” in the market by ensuring that adverts are professional.
“But sometimes adding another layer to what is existing may not be as productive as implementing properly what is existing. You can create 20 laws, but maybe if you implement the law that is existing better it could have the same result,” he said
Myles Bush, the chief executive of PH Real Estate, said the authorities “need to be a little bit mindful that one of the reasons why we operate here in Dubai is the ease with which we can do business”.
“We shouldn’t put more red tape in if it’s really not necessary.”
He also welcomed Rera’s drive to protect the public and maintain investor confidence, but felt that a better way of introducing this rule could have been to initially make it obligatory only for firms who had breached Rera’s code of ethics in the past.
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