UAE: Property Agents Reveal Fraudulent Tactics Amid Crackdown on Fake Ads

The Dubai Land Department has introduced new regulations governing the advertising of real estate properties, imposing a fine of Dh50,000 for infringements.

Real estate agents throughout the emirate have embraced these regulations, anticipating that they will help eliminate counterfeit listings and deceptive advertisements.

Craig Brown, Associate Director at the Luxury Collection, emphasized the significance of these changes for the real estate market. He highlighted the prevalence of unprofessional agents posting fake listings without proper documentation, which saturates the market and undermines the efforts of law-abiding agents.

In February, the Dubai Land Department and the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) issued a circular outlining the conditions for advertising units. The circular stated that a real estate project permit allows brokers to market the entire project rather than specific units. Brokers were instructed to promptly remove any violating advertisements from real estate platforms within five days.

Agents found in violation of this rule face a Dh50,000 fine and a three-month suspension of their license, with repeated infractions resulting in permanent license cancellation. Paul Kelly, Operations Director at Allsopp & Allsopp Group, highlighted the potential for a cleaner and more transparent property search for buyers and renters.

According to Jeff Raju Kuruvilla, CEO of Manifest Real Estate, fraudulent agents have been exploiting the system through various means, including using developer NOCs to advertise properties already sold. Craig noted additional violations, such as agents falsely claiming direct access to landlords and sellers for off-plan secondary listings.

The Dubai Land Department had previously issued a three-day notice to agents to remove fake listings, with agents now required to include QR codes in all real estate advertisements. Shireen Mansoor of True Deal Properties welcomed these changes, anticipating that they would benefit new agents and streamline processes in the industry.

Craig emphasized that it may take a few months to assess the full impact of these changes, expecting a crackdown on fraudulent practices. Jeff highlighted the visible changes in listings, with color-coded statuses indicating compliance levels.

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