New online platform for timeshare in Dubai real estate: Impact and implications

Dubai ranked second in the top 100 City Destinations Index 2021 issued by the UK market research company Euromonitor(1), and it’s not difficult to see why. The UAE’s high inoculation rates, along with stringent safety protocols in place, has increased visitor confidence. In a world that is just warming up to international leisure travel, Dubai has had a head start. 

It opened its doors to visitors in the summer of 2020, after the lockdown was lifted. The impact on the tourism industry was immediate. However, it’s a long road before the industry can achieve the pre-pandemic level of activity. And the governing bodies are putting the downtime to good use, as evident from the launch of a new platform for real estate timesharing in Dubai. 

A look at ‘Timeshare’ and what it means for travellers

Dubai has a reputation as the go-to place for ‘sun-seekers’ who love to lounge on its golden, sandy beaches and enjoy the luxuries that the upmarket destination has to offer. In 2019, Dubai had around 64,000 hotel rooms. In the next couple of years, this number grew to 100,700(2)! Along the way, innovative practices like timesharing have come to the fore.

Between expensive hotel stays and purchasing second or third homes, timesharing is emerging as a cost-effective and hassle-free alternative to enjoying longer vacations in Dubai. A timesharing contract allows multiple parties to either jointly own property as their holiday home or transfer the rights of use without making a large financial investment. As opposed to fractional ownership, timesharing does not entitle participants to longer occupancy, and greater rights are retained by the arbiter. So, with timesharing gaining popularity, regulatory bodies in Dubai real estate have launched a platform to safeguard the interests of all stakeholders. 

Policy revision

Policymakers have set up an online portal that enables timeshare operators to apply for permits. This step paves the way for the emirate to become a major holiday-home ownership destination while encouraging sustained investments in its service sector and simultaneously boosting the economy. The portal will contain all the information about timesharing, giving investors, owners, operators, and tourists a common reference point.  

As per the recently amended timesharing law, the Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) has collaborated with Dubai Land Department and the Dubai International Finance Center to maintain a database comprising property brokers, developers, and operators. This would offer another level of security to property owners, minimize exploitation, and increase transparency for all involved parties in a timesharing agreement. The new law also permits DET to monitor and supervise facilities while ensuring that the management of contracts and disputes is done amicably and appropriately. 

What users need to know

A major amendment to the law posits that new timeshare properties will be designated as hotel rooms. Private properties will not be allowed timeshare permits. It must also be noted that these permits stand valid for one year, following which the renewal process must be initiated. The relevant authorities may grant permits up to a period of four years, subject to furnishing of more details. It also highlights the terms and conditions for cancelling or transferring a timeshare contract.

Compliance and grievances will be handled by DET, which will ensure compliance with laws through consistent monitoring. As per the new law, the department must classify timeshare units, grant relevant permits, develop adequate terms and conditions, and establish a comprehensive database for timeshare facilities as and when circumstances demand and evolve.

Benefits of the platform

For timeshare enthusiasts, the new platform comes as great news because of the easy access it provides to a repository of information and the added layer of security. This will reduce the risk of fraudulent activities, as there have been incidents where contracts were drawn for properties that did not exist. The launch of the timesharing portal is also expected to create a new avenue for investors to buy into Dubai’s hospitality industry. It could bolster tourism and add to the overall competitiveness as Dubai hopes to make a strong comeback in 2022. 


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