Understanding Mollak: Dubai’s new integrated system for real estate governance
The Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA) has been at the helm of Dubai’s real estate sector, since its inception in 2007. The agency has regulated policies and strategies to effectively align the interests of investors, developers and buyers with a support structure of insurance companies, law firms and banks. As a regulatory arm of Dubai Land Department (DLD), RERA enjoys a considerable degree of financial and administrative autonomy, so it can undertake new initiatives to alleviate challenges and facilitate favourable conditions for real estate development in Dubai. To this same end, RERA has recently launched an integrated, web-based, electronic system named Mollak, for efficient real estate governance in Dubai(1).
The primary aim of Mollak—as the official site notes—is to support the creation of owners associations for jointly owned properties in Dubai(2). Besides providing a mechanism for the registration of these bodies, this system will assist in the management of such co-owned properties by maintaining an integrated database of pertinent records, escrow accounts and service charges. Mollak has been hailed as the first-of-its-kind electronic system in the world, launched to ensure just and transparent joint ownership in real estate sector, while incorporating state-of-the-art innovation and technology in the process. The vision, working mechanism and features of Mollak can be enumerated as follows.
Business transparency and regulation is the cornerstone of RERA’s functional mandate. As far as its responsibilities are concerned, RERA issues licenses to real estate agents and projects, manages mass media and exhibition activities, and establishes ground rules pertaining to escrow accounts and rental agreements. RERA has taken the unprecedented step of launching the innovative Mollak system, in recognition of the need for more advanced and sophisticated governance in Dubai’s real estate. Mollak is a crucial part of RERA’s vision to position Dubai as the world’s premier real estate destination and a byword for innovation, trust and harmony. The objective of launching Mollak is to enhance the city’s stature as a global destination for modern and affordable real estate offerings.
Sudhakar Rao, Chairman of Gemini Property Developers, believes that RERA’s grand ambitions for Dubai real estate are evident in the groundbreaking initiative. According to Sudhakar Rao, this system is well-equipped to ensure that real estate activities are in line with the legislative framework and RERA regulations, thereby demystifying the process for all the co-owners and stakeholders involved. The management and operation of an escrow account, concerning co-owned properties, has not been without challenges even in leading real estate markets. However, Dubai has acted on its pioneering spirit and enterprising disposition, to be the first to address and mitigate these challenges.
Mollak is a full-stack model, offering end-to-end services for owners associations. Through this system, homeowner associations can be established in compliance with established rules and regulations, with relative ease. Post registration, Mollak assists in managing service charges of co-owned properties by offering an integrated system to monitor associated escrow accounts. The system operates across the entire array of stakeholders, ranging from databases of real estate owners to those of the units registered and approved by DLD, although the end user cannot tamper with the latter. Details of required documents – such as financial statements or maintenance and service contracts – have been updated on the site, and directions for uploading the same specified. Once uploaded, an auditor proceeds to audit and appraise the documents. Following the ratification, the owners of real estate units are notified of the fees and service charges the property will attract. Additional features like payment gateway options, affordable solutions and contractual flexibility are on offer, subject to applicable conditions. The Mollak system has been crafted to provide transparency and order in a microcosm, through unique digital means, with ongoing big-picture benefits to the Dubai real estate, in the future.
RERA’s methodical approach to launching the Mollak system has also been praiseworthy. Before the official launch, RERA undertook a pilot run to verify the functionality and leave no room for flaws. Since its release in the second quarter of 2019, a resounding 468 bank accounts have been processed under Mollak, for service charges. Additionally, 88 management companies, 1,212 real estate projects and around 200,000 real estate units were registered and approved by RERA, through Mollak. Seven banks and eight auditors have entered the fray to act as trustees for co-owned properties and audit the applications seeking project approval, respectively.
Sudhakar Rao believes the government undertaking to assuage the formation and maintenance of owners associations will further promulgate Dubai as a safe haven for conducting real estate business. The Chairman of Gemini Property Developers hails the Mollak system for its emphasis on security, trust and transparency, without undermining the interests of any parties involved. As often as not, homeowner associations are structured as private entities, and no additional provisions are mandated by regulating bodies, besides the mandate for registration and compliance with stipulated regulations. Against this backdrop, Sudhakar Rao believes that Mollak is a trailblazing initiative that will promote greater compliance, a more secure and vibrant real estate sector, as well as the empowerment of all concerned stakeholders.