Dubai considers three-year rent freeze for residents

A new rental law will be issued in "near future" Dubai Land Department says

epa07367641 A picture taken with a fisheye lens shows areas close to the world's tallest building Burj Khalifa as seen from the the new highest lounge in the world at Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 13 February 2019. Ahmad Al Falasi, Executive Director Emaar Properties announced during media briefing the opening of highest lounge in the world at Burj Khalifa located on the 152, 153, and 154 floors at 575 metres, with each have its distinctive settings assuring never before seen views of the city.  EPA/ALI HAIDER
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Dubai is studying a proposal to freeze rents for three years after landlords and tenants sign rental contracts, according to the Dubai Land Department (DLD).

The three-year rent cap is one of the main topics within the new rental law that is under study by various authorities, the DLD said on Thursday. No decision has yet been made.

"The new rental law and the three-year contract that the Land Department is drafting is being studied by the relevant departments," a DLD spokesperson said. "The new law will be formally issued in the near future."

The DLD did not specify whether the proposed rent-freeze will apply to residential properties only or extend to other types of real estate such as retail and offices.

The proposal under study comes as Dubai introduces a slew of economic reforms aimed at enticing expats and investors. Among these measures, the emirate is planning to grant long-term visas of up to 10 years and approved new low-cost employee insurance policies to help retain talent and attract investors.

In changes to foreign ownership laws, investors will be able to own 100 per cent of a company in the UAE – a significant departure from the current policy that restricts foreigners to a 49 per cent stake in entities outside free zones, requiring them to forge partnerships with Emirati stakeholders.

Changes to residency and foreign ownership laws are expected to have a positive impact on the UAE property market as more residents seek longer-term housing by buying their homes or renting on longer leases, analysts said.