Anyone selling off-plan property in a bogus development could face two years in jail and up to BD50,000 fine. Individuals who intentionally cheat the public through “manipulative or orchestrated bogus projects” within licensed firms will be fined up to BD100,000. The law also prohibits a “handshake deal”, which is a verbal commitment to a transaction and will only recognize written and officially documented agreements.
The new punishments are part of the 109-article Real Estate Organizational Law, which will be debated during Parliament’s weekly session. Public Utilities and Environment Affairs Chairman Hamad Al Dossary said “There are loopholes in existing legislation that have seen ordinary people being cheated into buying off-plan property while in fact the project doesn’t exist or won’t be carried”.
Under the law, all properties will have to be insured against damage including fires or cracks, and have to fulfill all safety procedures.