Major Amendments to the Real Estate Ownership Rules for Foreigners in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi

On 16 April 2019, the Abu Dhabi Government issued Law No. 13 of 2019 amending certain provisions of Law No. 19 of 2005 on Real Estate Ownership (“Law”).

1. Foreign individuals (non-UAE/non-GGC nationals) and companies wholly or partially owned by such foreigners, can now own freehold ownership of land within the investment areas of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Prior to the issuance of the Law, foreign individuals and companies were able to hold freehold title to apartments, offices, villas and other real estate units and to acquire musataha, usufruct and long term lease rights over land for a period not exceeding 99 years.

2. Public Joint Stock Companies with 51% owned by UAE nationals, can now own land and property anywhere in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi (Abu Dhabi City, Al Ain and the Western Region).

The Law also introduces controls over the disposals of land that is subject to musataha or usufruct rights.

The Law came into effect on the date of issuance, 16 April 2019. To view the new law in full, please click here Arabic or English.

This new Law further supports the Government’s strategy to help enhance foreign investment in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and its Ghadan 21 initiative, which was previously commented on by Al Tamimi & Company in article, “The New Abu Dhabi ADIO and PPP Laws” on 21 March 2019. A number of new projects and development initiatives are set to be introduced in Abu Dhabi in the coming months, led by the Abu Dhabi Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities, through which it intends to further develop numerous urban and recreational facilities throughout the city through upgrading of parks and through the construction of new playgrounds, cycle paths, exercise tracks and other sporting facilities in addition to developing the city’s public transport routes which, alongside other proposals, aim to make the capital ‘one of the most liveable cities’ in the world by the year 2021.

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