All of Abu Dhabi’s real estate consultants should be properly trained and qualified by the end of this year following the introduction of the new real estate law.
Abdullah Al Bloushi, the executive director of land and property management at the Department of Municipal Affairs, said that training courses for brokers – which feature an exam at the end that has to be passed – had already begun.
Speaking to The National at Cityscape Abu Dhabi, Mr Al Bloushi said that the qualifications were introduced in a bid to improve standards.
“Most of the brokers right now, they are not brokers. They are working as a broker but they don’t have the minimum requirement to be a broker. In the UK or Australia, you have to have a degree or a qualification.”
The courses, which are being provided by Abu Dhabi Vocational Education and Training Institute, are being introduced gradually, with pass rates expected to increase throughout 2016.
“There was a grace period, but by the end of this year all of them should have the training,” he said. “For anyone to renew the licence, he will have to get through it.”
He said that the law was created after benchmarking best practice in countries including Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong, the UK and Dubai.
‘We did a gap analysis on our old laws, and we found there was some gap. That’s why we introduced these new laws regarding the escrow account (where funding is ring-fenced for a specific project and only accessed once 20 per cent of the work is complete), the licensing of the professionals, all of these things. If we don’t have these laws, that means there is something wrong.”
A YouGov survey published on Tuesday found that despite the law already being a few months old, some 32 per cent of brokers in Abu Dhabi still had no awareness of its existence.
“Obviously, that’s a little bit concerning, because there’s a gap in communications there,” said Richard Jolley, the head of property listings at the classifieds portal Dubizzle.
He added that although property laws have been in place in Dubai for many years, there were still issues with enforcement.
David Dudley, head of the property consultancy JLL’s Abu Dhabi office, said that the new real estate law had been generally welcomed by the emirate’s property sector.
“There were gaps in the system that needed to be filled. These laws put in place those missing components. They’ve been talked about for eight years now so there were no surprises,” he said.
However, he added that there were concerns that the extra regulatory hurdles may compound the problems being experienced in Abu Dhabi’s market over the lack of new supply. JLL’s new Abu Dhabi Market Report said the amount of new supply coming onto the market was at a 10-year low – just 719 units were completed in the first quarter of 2016.
“I’m not that concerned about reduced supply in a period of weak demand. My concern is when the market rebounds and demand growth increases, we need an adequate supply to keep rents competitive.”
Mr Al Bloushi said that the law would be evaluated at the end of 2016 after receiving feedback from stakeholders, including brokers, developers and banks.
“If we’ve found there is more restriction, for example, we can make it easier in terms of restrictions and requirements. We can fine-tune things, according to the need,” he said.
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