Lost Your Title Deed?  Here Is What To Do!

As you already should be aware (and if not, you should be), the Title Deed is the most important document of all when it comes to your Dubai property.  Unlike other jurisdictions (the UK being a good example), in Dubai, the Title Deed is your sole and conclusive proof of legal ownership and is required for both renting and selling properties in the region.  Holding a properly registered Title Deed is, therefore, an absolute must for all Dubai property investors.

But what happens if you lose this all-important document?  Can you obtain a duplicate?  Or how do you go about replacing the Title Deed?  These are all valid questions which we will answer below.  If you are in the unfortunate situation of losing your Title Deed, it is certainly recommended to follow this advice as soon as possible.  This will avoid inconvenience later and of course prevent any unwanted security issues with your investment. 

Registration at Dubai Land Department – Oqood v Title Deed

Whilst not specifically related to lost Title Deeds, it is certainly worth mentioning the process for registering your property in the first instance.  For the same reasoning as noted above, it is vital to register your property interests with the Dubai authorities.

The Oqood (Arabic for ‘contract’) was introduced as a response to the high volume of off-plan property sales in Dubai.  It is essentially a pre-registration of ownership of an off-plan (incomplete) property at the Dubai Land Department.  As with the Title Deed, it is equally as important to register off-plan properties as with a completed project.  It again provides proof of legal ownership of a particular property.  Regardless of whether the property is completed or not, it is always advisable to register the property in your name.  Ultimately this is the best means of protecting your investment.

The current registration fees in Dubai are 4% of the property purchase price (plus some additional administrative fees for the online registration and Title Deed issuance).  This fee was increased from 2% in late 2013 and in practical terms, most developers charge this fee upfront with the initial deposit for a new property purchase.  Once paid, the property is registered in the owners’ name at the Dubai Land authorities.  Once the project is completed, the Oqood stage then moves into the Title Deed stage.

 

I have lost my original Title Deed, what should I do?

Unlike the Oqood Certificate, which can simply be reprinted by the Dubai Land Department, there are some specific measures to follow in the unfortunate event of having lost a Title Deed.

It is worth adding here that if your property is mortgaged, the original will be with your bank/mortgage provider and you only ever have a true stamped copy.  Best to know this now before you spend money and time applying for a replacement Title Deed! If you have checked thoroughly and are convinced that you have lost your Title Deed, you will need to follow the below steps:

 

Step 1 – Obtain a Police Report

As a security procedure, the Dubai Land Department require the owner obtains a report from the Dubai Police detailing that they have lost or misplaced the original Title Deed.  The process itself is fairly straightforward and can be done in a matter of hours.  There is a AED 70 fee charged and the report is issued on the spot.  You will need to bring valid photo identification and a copy of the lost Title Deed.

Tip – we use the Bur Dubai Police station (next to the immigration department at Al Jafiliya) and have found both the staff very helpful and the processes very simple.

 

Step 2 – Place an Advertisement in a Local Newspaper

It perhaps seems rather old-fashioned but this is also a necessity.  You must place an advertisement in a local newspaper stating that you have lost your Title Deed and leaving some contact details for someone to contact you if it is indeed found.

The Dubai Land Department requires at least a 3-day running advert.  Please be aware that most news outlets are not cheap and prices for a 3-day advertisement range from AED 2,500 – AED 3,000.

Tip – we use Gulf News as our advertising option as they tend to be quick and easy to deal with.

 

Step 3 – Application for Replacement Title Deed at Dubai Land Department

Once you have satisfied the above requirements, you can now proceed to the Dubai Land Department to submit your application for a replacement Title Deed.

Update (August 2018) – The application process for replacement Title Deeds have since been outsourced to specific DLD Registration Trustees.  All of the documents mentioned below will need to be provided at this time and the new Title Deed will take one calendar month to be issued.  Normally it will be couriered to your specified address.  To date, there is no option for an express service fee.

          Tip – we use the Trustees located in the Al Manara Municipality on Sheikh Zayed  Road. 

You will need to bring the Police Report and proof of the newspaper advertisement.  Hard copies of the newspaper adverts for all 3-days are required.  You will also need your passport (and Emirates ID for residents), a copy of the Title Deed and an Affection Plan for the property.  The Affection Plan is a site plan showing the property plot details and location.  If you do not have one, this can be obtained in advance at the Dubai Land Department main office (ground floor, customer services) and costs AED 270 for an apartment / AED 120 for land.

Once you have all of the above, you will submit the application and pay approx. AED 1,150 fees for the replacement Title Deed.

Tip – please bear in mind that only the registered owner of the property or his/appointed Power of Attorney can apply for and request a replacement Title Deed.  The same applies for the Dubai Police Report.

So there you have it.  Whilst, not the most difficult process to follow, it can be time-consuming and frustrating if you do not experience with these specific authorities personally.   If you live overseas or unable to find the time to action this personally, using a respected, qualified and experienced Power of Attorney is recommended.

It is also always recommended to action this sooner rather than later.  It cannot be overstated as to the importance of holding a Title Deed for your Dubai property as this ensures that you are the legally registered owner.   It is the single most important document in any property related transaction in Dubai so not one that should be overlooked.

[Headquartered in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Your POA Dubai is a division of Your Document Clearing Services, a Dubai Economic Development licensed company specializing in representing national and international clients as Power of Attorney for a wide range of property related matters; If you need a Power of Attorney or have questions on any property related matters in the UAE, please email [email protected]  or call +971 04 559 0114]