Property Surveys

  • 25MAR


With a major portion of Dubai's freehold properties beginning to age a growing need for a property survey is becoming evident.

When property is purchased or sold in a mature property market a buyer would seek an independent third-party survey of the property. Within Dubai this has not become the norm as almost 100% of the properties brought to the freehold market were constructed from scratch and are thus covered structurally under the 10-year (decennial) warranty of the contractor who built the property. Such structural warranty is obliged by Law, specifically S880-883 of the UAE Civil Code.

As the years have passed, even though properties are now moving past that 10-year mark, it is interesting that the market has not seen a shift to the survey of properties as a condition of sale. Potential considerations are that Sellers may not want to risk exposing any structural issues of which they may be unaware, whilst brokers may see the process as an unnecessary delay to the sales process that the market has not dictated. Whatever the reason, the growing need to complete a survey before buying is becoming evident.

During the last 6 months. Dubai Municipality (DM) has teamed up with developers to crack down on unauthorised alterations to the property; this can include walls being demolished, MEP (plumbing and electrical) being moved or extended, excavation of land for a pool; the list goes on. DM and Developers have begun issuing notices to rectify unauthorised changes leaving some owners puzzled how the work was completed in the first place with out the correct approvals.

In the past, buyers have relied on the developer to issue a NOC which should cover unauthorised changes, but it has become apparent that the developers are not checking properly, and this is causing new owners to be left with old changes they are sometimes not even aware have taken place. The developers in the past have been very relaxed on residents seeking the correct approvals where needed from the Dubai Municipality.

Cost of rectification can be huge, often unauthorised contractors cannot seek proper approvals as they are not authorised or licensed to obtain approvals and yet they have completed the works. Developers and Dubai Municipality can charge fines, per square foot fee (if extension), additional service charges, and sometimes request for an unauthorised change to be removed (which can devalue the property and increase the costs to correct).

What can a survey tell you about property? A survey doesn't just cover structural problems with a property it also gives a detailed check on changes to the property since it was built.

How can you minimise the risk? Seek a survey if the property has had changes, or if the property is over 10 years old.
A surveyor would check that all changes are approved and have completion certificates required by the developer and DM. They would issue a certificate stating that the property has all its approvals and provide a list of violations which have not been approved that should have proper approvals done.
Domain Conveyancing works with Multi Build Construction to provide this service where needed.

Whether you are a Buyer or Seller a property survey could be beneficial and please send your enquiry via
Tristan Lowe from Domain Conveyancing
25th March 2019