Downtown Dubai

Dubai Tourism clarifies Downtown operations regulations

Dubai: Following Emaar’s notification to Downtown Dubai residents about ceasing their holiday home operators by 19 September [Thursday], Dubai Tourism has allayed concerns by clarifying the rules and regulations regarding rental activities in the development.

As such, operators and individual owners will be required to obtain a valid permit to list holiday homes in the Downtown on short-term rental platforms, with the permit number also being included in all listings for each specific unit, according to an official statement by the authority.

Dubai Tourism added that all bed space rental and unit-sharing are against the law in Dubai and are prohibited from being listed.

Chief executive officer of bnbme, Vinayak Mahtani, told Khaleej Times: “After days of waiting, the DTCM (Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing) has come out with the clarification. We had full confidence that the authorities would clarify the regulations so let’s all get back to entertaining our guests and ensuring they have a wow experience in Dubai.”

The reassurances have come about after legal holiday home operators expressed concerns over a notification by Emaar which reportedly said would “impact their agreements with global clients”.

It also follows the news that Emaar is rolling out a streamlined, short-term rental concept called ‘Ease by Emaar’, and launching a premium residential beach project called ‘South Beach’.

Khurram Shroff, chairman of IBC Group and Gallery Suites, also told the newspaper: “Highlighting the legal permits and rules that operators, big or small, need to follow, will help streamline the market and ease any concerns.”

“Some holiday home companies are actually being used as an umbrella for practising bed space sharing/rental or room rentals which is illegal in Dubai, said Fam properties & Fam Living CEO Firas Al Msaddi. “I think it is important that such rules are publicly available to educate not only companies but also landlords and businessmen who wish to invest in properties and put them on short-term rentals.”

WeShareProperty founder Sarah Bacon said: “If there’s one thing that worries the investment world, it’s unpredictability. 

“If they can’t predict something it is by nature volatile, and you don’t have to be an economist to understand the impact of volatility in the market. Whether perceived or actual, increased volatility in the real estate market at the moment is not a good thing.

Bacon expressed her relief at the DTCM’s clarification of the rules and regulations in the Downtown as operators had previously been left concerned that there would be little time to implement the changes and they had not been sure what steps to take next.

“The calm reaffirmation from the DTCM that all holiday home companies need to come with a valid permit was the right move. No one wants to see their property prices depreciate, feel unsafe, or see increased wear and tear due to short-term lettings, however, the use of short-term lettings companies is certainly no guarantee that any of that will occur,” she added.

Meanwhile, it was also announced that Emaar Properties, Dubai’s largest listed developer, is set to raise $500 million from the sale of Islamic bonds [sukuk].

As reported by Reuters, the transaction has now received orders of almost $2.5 billion, including $300 million in interest from the banks arranging the deal, according to a document issued by them. The deal is part of a $2 billion debt programme.

Standard Charters are leading the transaction, with participation coming from Dubai Islamic Bank, Deutsche Bank, Emirates NBD Capital, First Abu Dhabi Bank, Mashreqbank and Sharjah Islamic Bank.

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