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30 October 2017

Overview of Strata Structures in Dubai

Common areas in certain real estate projects in Dubai belong jointly to the owners of units in the project.  The management of such common areas is governed by the provisions of Law No. 27 of 2007 and a set of directions and regulations.

This article summarises the various entities and documents involved with the management of common areas in single use developments and common elements in mixed use developments.

This article summarises the entities involved with the management of common areas within certain real estate projects in Dubai. It only relates to designated zone in Dubai where non-U.A.E. nationals are permitted to own real property.  This does not include properties contained within the boundaries of the Dubai International Financial Centre, which has its own strata title laws.

The management of such common areas is governed by the provisions of Law No. 27 of 2007 entitled “Concerning the Ownership of Jointly-Owned Properties in the Emirate of Dubai” (the JOP Law) and a set of regulations.

All ‘common areas’ belong to the owners of units within the project .  The proportion of their ownership of the common areas is calculated on a pro rata basis in accordance with the total area of their units.

All common areas are managed by an owners’ association and all owners of units automatically become members of such an owners’ association.  The owners elect a board of representatives to act on their behalf.

The owners’ association and the common areas within the project are managed in accordance with the provisions of a document called a jointly owned property declaration (a JOPD).  The JOPD is initially prepared by the developer of the project but it can be amended later by the owners.

The owners’ association is legally constituted on the registration of the sale of the first unit in the project .  The owners’ association must also be licensed by the Dubai Real Estate Regulatory Agency for practical purposes but almost all owners’ associations in Dubai have not been granted a license to date.

Certain more complex projects with multiple components, such as a project with a residential and a commercial component, will have multiple owners’ associations, each with their own individual JOPDs.

The common areas that are shared by the various owners’ associations are referred to as ‘common elements’ and such areas are managed by a higher owners’ association, which consists of representatives from each of the owners’ association and which is often referred to as the building management group. 

The building management group and the common elements must be managed in accordance with the terms of the building management statement (a BMS) of each project.  The BMS is also initially prepared by the developer of the project but it too can later be amended by the owners’ associations.

Both the owners’ association and the building management group will then appoint an association manager to assist with the management of the common areas and the common elements, respectively.


This article was written by Poras Dhakan. For more information please contact Simon Green, Head of Real Estate Middle East on +971 4 246 1902 or Simon.Green@crsblaw.com.

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