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‘Does buying a property in the UAE entitle me to a residence visa?’

There are property-linked visas available with a duration of three, five and 10 years

I recently moved into a villa in Dubai that my husband and I purchased a few years ago. The property was handed over to us in the middle of last year. Both my husband and I are already on our respective employers’ residence visas, but we would like to know what visa we are entitled to as property owners.

Is there a property value threshold that needs to be met to obtain this type of visa and how long is it valid for? Could you advise us on what we should do?

Owning a property in Dubai allows you to have your own visa, however, please note there are three types available that you could apply for, depending on certain criteria.

Investor residence visa

To be eligible for this visa, you will have to own a property worth at least Dh1 million. This has to be the value at the time of purchase, not the current value. It must be a ready property and not off-plan. Up to three properties can be used, with the total value being no less than Dh1m to be eligible for this visa.

In case the property is mortgaged, at least 50 per cent of the property value has to be paid to the bank. In your case, a husband and wife can participate in one property purchase and be eligible for the visa, but the marriage certificate will need to be shown.

The cost for this visa ranges from Dh13,000 to Dh15,000 and has a validity of three years, which is renewable.

Five-year residence visa

If you purchase a property worth at least Dh5m, you will be entitled to a five-year visa. The property must not be purchased via a mortgage or any other loan and should be retained for at least three years. With this visa, the holder is eligible to sponsor their family and dependents.

10-year residence visa

These are available to anyone investing more than Dh10m, of which 40 per cent should be in real estate. The investment cannot be made using any loan and should be retained for at least three years.

To apply for these types of visas, the documents required include: the property’s title deed; good conduct certificate; bank statements; passport copy with visa page; utility bill; six passport size photos; and medical insurance.

You must approach the Dubai Land Department with your documents to start the process.

I read an article in The National on how to negotiate rents lower. Because I did not request my landlord to reduce my rent three months ahead of the contract expiry, he is now refusing to lower the rent. Can I lodge a complaint with the Real Estate Regulatory Agency?

Any change to an existing rental contract has to be communicated in writing to the party concerned with 90 days' notice. This includes the whole contract and can be, for example, any increase or decrease in the rent, the number of cheques payable or any other clauses that were previously agreed upon.

This is what the law states. However, a contract is an agreement between two or more parties and, as such, any further changes to it has to be by mutual agreement.

If you have a good relationship with your landlord, who might allow you to alter your rent after giving less than the 90-day notice required, this is entirely up to both of you. If, however, your landlord does not agree to alter your contract, it is up to you to contest this by filing a case at the Rental Dispute Settlement Committee.

It is my opinion, you are unlikely to win as you have missed the 90-day window of opportunity to alter your contract.

If you cannot reach an agreement with your landlord with regards to the new rental amount, you can leave at the end of your contract period and seek alternative accommodation.

Mario Volpi is the sales and leasing manager at Engel & Volkers. He has worked in the property sector for more than 35 years in London and Dubai. The opinions expressed do not constitute legal advice and are provided for information only.


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