Tenants to register for utilities and parking under new property scheme

Residents will soon need a tenancy contract approved by the Abu Dhabi municipality to have utilities turned on or to receive a parking spot.

April 17, 2011 (Abu Dhabi) Reem Island viewed from roof of Abu Dhabi Mall April 17, 2011 (Sammy Dallal / The National)
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ABU DHABI // Residents will soon need a tenancy contract approved by the municipality to have utilities turned on or receive a parking spot.

Tawtheeq, the municipality's electronic property register scheme, will work with three government agencies to link owners and tenants with services that require contracts.

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The three partners - the Department of Economic Development, the Department of Transport and the Abu Dhabi Distribution Company - will require all new tenancy contracts to be entered into the Tawtheeq system by the end of the year.

"One of the crucial steps in efficiently and effectively implementing the Tawtheeq project in the market is to co-ordinate with all stakeholders," said Ali Al Hashimi, the Tawtheeq project manager.

Tawtheeq, due to be launched in October, will keep track of all rental contracts. The contracts will be standardised and allow tenants and property owners to conduct rental transactions online. Services such as utilities and parking passes with Mawaqif will be connected to the register. Trade licences will not be issued or renewed if a tenancy contract for the commercial space is not registered.

Mr Al Hashimi said the municipality had identified 15 stakeholders with which to form strategic partnerships, to be announced this year.

The project, which stems from an Executive Council decree, is an effort to regulate the property sector. All tenancy contracts, including those already in effect, must be entered into the system before the project's second phase in October.

But existing contracts will not need to be approved within the Tawtheeq system until they are up for renewal.

"Our aim is to regulate the market," Mr Al Hashimi said. "Our aim is not to come up with difficult procedures and processes that hinder the existing operations. We aim … to increase customer satisfaction."

At least 45,000 units have been registered with Tawtheeq.

In the next three months, all property owners will have to sign up for the register. By the end of the year the municipality must authorise all tenancy contracts.

As part of the initiative, the public will be able to search through an electronic database by unit type, price and location. It will list all residential, commercial and industrial units in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain.

The municipality will also use Tawtheeq to collect statistics on vacancies and rental prices, and to produce industry-specific reports for the private sector.

Mr Al Hashimi urged all landlords and property owners who had not signed on to do so as soon as possible. "They don't know what they're missing," he said.

"There are a lot of advantages and key benefits to them, to the landlords and the property management companies that will save them a lot of time and effort and will definitely improve their customer service levels."

The municipality said it did not intend to levy any fines or penalties for those who do not register with Tawtheeq.