A Buyer’s Guide for Freehold Property in Dubai


In 2002, the UAE government announced various legal reforms, including real estate legislation and freehold property in Dubai. The reforms allowed the ex-pats to enjoy a lease of properties for a 99-year tenure. It was in the same year that the government introduced the Freehold Decree. This enabled foreign nationals of 21 years and above to lease, rent and buy properties in some specially designated regions around the city. In the subsequent years, the trend of buying freehold property in Dubai has increased significantly.

Here are details you need to know about freehold properties before investing in property.

Freehold vs. Leasehold Type of Property

  • Leasehold: the property rights are fixed for up to 99 years, and one does not own the property’s land.
  • Freehold: Ownership rights of the property land and the property can be sold, leased, or occupied as per the owner’s rights.

The Freehold areas of Dubai for the Non-UAE nationals’ property ownership are stipulated in “Article 3 of Regulation No. (3) of 2006 Determining Areas for Ownership by Non-UAE Nationals of Real Property in the Emirate of Dubai.”

Article (3): Non-UAE Nationals may acquire freehold ownership rights over Real Property without time restriction, usufruct rights, or leasehold rights for up to ninety-nine (99) years concerning the land plot(s) indicated opposite each of the following areas as shown by the maps issued by the Department and attached to this Regulation:

  1. Umm Hurair 2: Plot No. (013);
  2. Al Barsha South 2: Plot No. (002);
  3. Al Barsha South 3: Plot No. (002);
  4. Emirates Hills 1: Plots No. (004) and (814);
  5. Emirates Hills 2: Plots No. (001) and (049);
  6. Emirates Hills 3: Plot No. (001);
  7. Jebel Ali: Plots No. (051), (074), (081), (082), (083), (084), (142), (143), and (391);
  8. Al Jaddaf: Plot No. (003), (007), and (008);
  9. The World Islands: Plot No. (001);
  10. Ras al Khor: Plot No. (165);
  11. Al Rowyah: Plot No. (063) and (065);
  12. Sheikh Zayed Road: Plot No. (118) and (147);
  13. Sofouh 1: Plot No. (069);
  14. Sofouh 2: Plot No. (005);
  15. Al-Qouz 3: Plot No. (005) and (006);
  16. Al-Qouz Industrial Area 2: Plot No. (010) and (030);
  17. Al-Qouz Industrial Area 3: Plot No. (028);
  18. Mirdif: Plot No. (143) and (144);
  19. Dubai Marina: Plot No. (007), (014), (015), and (033);
  20. Palm Jebel Ali: Plot No. (001);
  21. Palm Jumeirah: Plot No. (001);
  22. Nad al-Sheba: Plots No. (209), (215), and (222); and
  23. Warsan 1: Plot No. (002).


Freehold Properties in Dubai

When you purchase a freehold property in Dubai, you get absolute ownership and decrease any time restrictions. The Land Department of Dubai will then register your name as a landowner in its records, and you will be given one title deed for that property. If the owner of such a property dies, their legal heir will be able to inherit the property, as per freehold properties meaning. Expatriates and foreign nationals from other nations can go for freehold properties in those designated zones. The noteworthy thing about Freehold properties is that open must buy freehold properties through real estate agents with government approval. 

Investors and property buyers looking for freehold ownership get a lot of options to pick from. The freehold regions in Dubai have numerous setups, including villas, townhouses, and apartments in Dubai. You can buy different Freehold properties in the emirate’s notable neighborhoods, such as Downtown Dubai, Dubai Marina, The Springs, JBR, and The Meadows. In recent years, historically, non-freehold areas like Jumeirah Beach Residence are also witnessing the emergence of freehold real estate projects.

Buying real estate is not only the best way, the quickest way, the safest way, but the only way to become wealthy.

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List of Freehold Areas in Dubai

The following communities in Dubai are popular areas for residential properties.

  • Business Bay
  • Dubai Sports City
  • Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO)
  • Dubai Hills Estate
  • Dubai Creek Harbour
  • Dubai South
  • Dubai Production City
  • Dubai Studio City
  • Dubai Science Park

There are also many new freehold projects announced in popular areas of Dubai. Dubai property market is hot, and developers also offer off-plan properties to buy apartments in freehold communities.

Dubai Real Estate Laws for Property Ownership 

Buying freehold apartments and villas will be registered with Dubai Land Department (DLD). All properties for Sale in Dubai are registered with DLD. The property market is highly regulated in UAE, so property prices are stable in Dubai real estate market. There are some designated areas where only UAE Nationals can build villas.

Advantages of Investing in Dubai Freehold Property 

  • After purchasing one freehold property in Dubai, you will have complete control over the property and the land. So, you can renovate or remodel that property extensively when you adhere to the developer guidelines.
  • As per the freehold properties meaning and existing land law, a freehold property will be inherited by the owner’s legal heirs after their demise. 
  • If you buy property in Dubai, you can sell or lease it very well per your needs and discretion. 
  • The owner of freehold property and their family may get visas for UAE residence, which are renewable if they meet specific conditions. The visa of UAE-term residency will make them eligible for visas for ten years.
  • When you buy a freehold property, you have several options to pick from diverse types of properties in the designated sectors.


  • After buying a freehold property in Dubai, you must consider its maintenance. Maintenance and repair will be your responsibility if you lease the property to one tenant. 
  • The owner of such property must pay the yearly maintenance charges.

Freehold Properties Meaning

Freehold Vs. Leasehold Dubai Properties

Only some people eyeing a property in and around Dubai need a freehold property, despite the advantages. There is a clear distinction between freehold vs. leasehold property. A Leasehold Property is a unit you lease from its owner, and its duration is 99 years. After that period, the owner regains their property ownership in Dubai. However, it is technically possible to renew such a lease after it ends. Such properties can be rented or sold, much like a freehold property. There are a variety of properties available in Dubai, including freehold apartments, townhouses, and luxurious villas.

Both freehold and leasehold properties have their pros and cons.  
  • A freehold residential property owner can make more customizations to the property than a person who has opted for a Leasehold Property. The latter needs to obtain permission from the property owner before making design changes or remodeling. This limits the tweaking options to an extent.
  • When you opt for a leasehold property in Dubai, the choices are varied. You get more areas and price ranges to pick from freehold properties.
  • As for property maintenance, owners of leasehold properties can save from any discomfort, as most of the repairs are done by the property owners, as per the law. 

Should you buy free hold Villa?

Buying a property in Dubai is limited to two options Freehold vs. leasehold. Both options have their own pros and cons, including legal implications. In a finer analysis, the noticeable difference between a leasehold and a freehold property in Dubai lies in the grade of control.

While buying a freehold property in Dubai gives you more control than a leasehold property. You are entitled to the property for 99 years.

Overall, a freehold property owner gets more control over the property than a leasehold property buyer. It is easier to list freehold villas in Dubai for sale.


There is plenty of choice of properties in Dubai. If you are looking to buy and are ready to invest in Dubai, ensure you understand the difference between buying freehold or leaded-hold property ownership rights. Per the amended land laws in Dubai, you get the option to pick from different types of properties. You must ensure this before investing in Dubai real estate or property in the UAE. Both freehold and leasehold properties come with their share of advantages and drawbacks. However, many investors prefer to invest in a freehold property. But getting guidance from a veteran and government-approved realtor agent can be handy in making the final choice.

Also Read:- Can Foreigners Buy Property in Dubai, UAE?

About author

Over seven years in UAE, living in Al Ain and Dubai has inspired my lifestyle, and I admire the beautiful country. I like to read, write and research about improving the quality of life for success.
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