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Buying a Property in Abu Dhabi

Updated: Oct 30, 2022

According to Law No. 19 of 2005 Concerning the Regulation of the Real Estate Sector in Abu Dhabi, only floors and flats, not lands, are permitted for foreign nationals to acquire as real estate:

  • The ownership deeds for residential properties are issued to expatriates for a term of 99 years, allowing them to completely sell the apartments and villas they purchase (land is not included).

  • Expatriates are permitted to own homes for 99 years. According to the usufruct agreement, the owner has the right to utilize the property and its amenities without being able to alter them.

  • Musataha are residential properties may be owned by expatriates for a period of 50 years, extendable by the parties for additional terms of equal length. Masataha contracts give the owner the right to use, build, or modify the property within the allotted time.

  • Long-term leases are granted for an initial time frame of at least 25 years.

There are nine areas in Abu Dhabi Designated areas for ownership where foreigners are allowed to own real estate properties.

  1. Yas Island

  2. Saadiyat

  3. Reem

  4. Mariya

  5. Lulu

  6. Al Raha Beach

  7. Sayh Al Sedairah

  8. Al Reef

  9. Masdar City


Amended provisions in Abu Dhabi Real Estate Law

An an amendment was made in April 2019 in the Abu Dhabi Real Estate law which allows foreign nationals to fully own real estate properties in Abu Dhabi investment areas.

The Articles 3 and 4 of the previous law must be modified, according to the new law.

The rights to own property are restricted to three groups, according to Article 3(i). As follows:

Natural or legal individuals who are Emirati citizens

  • Public holding firms with no more than 49% ownership by foreigners

  • Anyone to whom the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince or the Executive Council President issues a decision.

  • Article 3 (ii) stipulates that non-UAE nationals, natural or legal persons, have the right to own and acquire all original and in-kind rights in real estate properties located within investment areas.

Non-UAE citizens, whether they are natural or legal persons, are allowed to own and acquire all original and in-kind rights in real estate properties located in investment regions, according to Article 3(ii).

According to Article 4, individuals who have held a "usufruct" or "musataha" for more than ten years are entitled to sell or otherwise dispose of the property, including by way of a mortgage, without the landlord's permission. However, unless the owner of the usufruct or musataha grants permission, the landlord cannot mortgage the property. The parties may agree otherwise in either scenario.

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