RERA's fight against fake property listings: Current results

RERA's fight against fake property listings: Current results

At the beginning of February, RERA, the real estate market regulator in Dubai, began actively combating the proliferation of fake property listings, which have long been a problem for the market. Threatening online platforms with legal consequences and demanding the removal of such listings, the regulator managed to drastically reduce their number in just a week. Ordinary buyers could already notice the results of RERA's actions when reviewing catalogues on various portals, especially if they paid attention to listings duplicated on multiple sites.


The problem of counterfeits and copies

Both real estate agents and listing portals are responsible for the proliferation of duplicate listings in catalogues and the spread of counterfeits in the market. The state cannot effectively deal with every individual agent and agency, so RERA preferred to hold the distribution platforms accountable. The solution proved effective. But what is the problem in the first place?

According to the law, advertisements for the sale of each individual property offered on the market can be published by no more than three real estate agents at a time. These agents must have a special document for their activities, known as "Form A". Goods cannot be offered by a large number of agents on an unlimited number of platforms. However, this is exactly what happened with the local market.

The problem of excessive copies of listings has led not only to the inflation of the market with fictitious offers and the disruption of the supply-demand balance but also to the proliferation of various fraudulent schemes.

Non-existent listings

Another issue is non-existent listings. These are not necessarily direct falsifications of sales offers but rather listings that have not been removed from platforms even after a buyer has been found. The situation is as follows: the seller finds agents, the agents offer the goods on the market, one of them finds a buyer, and the deal and listing are closed.

However, the remaining agents often simply leave their own listings hanging on other platforms, creating the appearance of more goods on the market than there actually are. Given the rapid growth of Dubai's real estate sector in recent years and the immense attention paid to imbalances in supply and demand in the emirate, the situation with non-existent listings has become particularly dangerous.

Regulator's response

The ultimatum issued by the regulator comes with a series of fines and penalties. This has led to rapid cleanups of property sales catalogues on portals in the emirate. Also, agents whose listings have been published for more than a few months will now have to provide evidence that specific properties are still seeking buyers.

The regulator's attention to listings that have been posted for more than eight months will be guaranteed. The cleanup of current catalogues will allow buyers, sellers, and analysts to get a clearer picture of the market, the volume of available supply, and prices.

Increased control in the future

RERA's actions should increase trust in the market and ultimately increase the number of transactions, as buyers and investors will gain an understanding of real prices and goods. A lower chance of encountering scammers is an additional benefit. The neighbourhoods of Dubai popular for their offerings in the mid-price segment, especially Jumeirah Village Circle, Dubailand, and International City, will benefit the most. They have often suffered from an abundance of fake listings.

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