GLOSSARY
OF TERMS

An explanation of common terms.

Annual General Assembly (AGA)

A meeting of all owners (as documented on the Owners Roll Register) that must be convened once each year. In the AGA, specific matters pertaining to the Owners Association are discussed and resolved by the owners.

Annual Service Charge

A service charge imposed on all unit owners by a majority vote at the AGA for the maintenance, operation, renewing and replacement of the common areas and assets of the Owners Association. See also General Fund and Reserve Fund.

Assets

All movable or immovable property, other than real property, that is managed and owned by the Owners Association.

Asset Register

A catalogue maintained by the Owners Association that records all the assets of the building, along with relevant information, including:

  • The asset.
  • Date of acquisition.
  • Name of the supplier.
  • Warranty expiry date.
  • Emergency contact person.
  • Contact number.

Association Manager

An individual who is engaged in a voluntary capacity, or a specialised company contractually appointed by the Owners Association, to manage the Jointly Owned Property in accordance with all legal requirements and other functions delegated by the Owners Association.

The association manager must be registered and licensed by the appropriate licensing and regulatory authority and must not have any financial or conflict of interest in the management of the Owners Association affairs and/or business.

Board of Directors

A committee made up of Owners, or their duly authorised representatives, elected at each Annual General Assembly of the Owners Association.
The Board of Directors (more commonly referred to as “the Board”) is made up of not fewer than five and no more than seven members and up to three reserve members who are prepared to fill a Board vacancy in the event of a loss of a Board member. The Board as a group is responsible for making decisions in respect of the conduct of the affairs of the Owners Association.

Board of Directors Membership

The Board members are elected at the Annual General Assembly of the Owners Association each year to act as the representatives of all the owners within the Owners Association.

The Board member’s role and duties are clearly defined and governed by the Jointly Owned Property Law and the Owners Association Constitution, which includes overseeing the management, maintenance and the operations of the common areas and the affairs of the Owners Association. The Board can delegate some or all of its functions to an association manager and Board members are required to observe a Code of Conduct set down in the Declaration.

Budget

An annual budget is an estimate of future expenditure that is required to be prepared by the Owners Association manager for the approval of the Board and, once approved by the Board, the budget is then presented for adoption at the Annual General Assembly of each Owners Association by a majority vote of the owners.

This estimate of funds, once approved, is the basis of determining the individual owner’s proportion of the total service charges to enable the proper maintenance and management of the Owners Association to be undertaken.

The budget is prepared by the association manager and includes full details of the proposed General Fund and Reserve Fund. This budget is presented to the Board for approval and then submitted to the owners for their vote at the Annual General Assembly.

The budget prepared for the General Fund is for a one-year period, whereas the budget for the Reserve Fund must be based on a study of the costs of renewing and replacing the common areas and assets over a minimum ten-year period.

Building Management Committee/Group

Where there is more than one Owners Association and these associations are governed by a Building Management Statement, a duly elected group made up of nominees from each individual Owners Association is appointed to represent issues in relation to the facilities shared amongst all the Owners Associations involved.

Building Management Statement

A contract that governs a Building Management Committee/Group for its rules and regulations and breaks down the shared facilities costs per component use area.
Each Owners Association within a development governed by a building management statement is required to contribute to the management, maintenance and operation of the common areas and shared facilities.

Certificate of Title

A Certificate of Title, which is also known as a Title Deed, is issued by the Land Department for each unit in the name of the unit owner to prove ownership of real property within the Jointly Owned Property.

In addition to there being a Title Deed for each unit in the development, there is also an additional Title Deed issued for the Owners Associations delineating the plot of land for the Jointly Owned Property.

Cluster

A detached group of developments that share open space.

Common Areas

The area of land and part of a building in the site plan which do not form part of any individual unit; that is, corridors, lobbies, stairwells, lifts and lift wells, roof, driveways, common area car parks, structural support columns, service utilities and associated equipment, and also including electrical, telecommunications, computer and data service, utility infrastructure, security systems, plumbing, drainage systems, mail delivery systems and any other systems designed to enhance the utilities of units and/or common areas such as gardens, pools, gymnasiums, or recreational rooms.

Component

A term used when a Building Management Statement is formed based on a site plan to indicate separate areas, services and equipment within one building, such as residential, commercial, retail and so on.

Community Title

A term used to describe a development that combines a variety of dwelling styles and communal facilities where an overall style and theme must be followed.

Community Rules

Also known as By-Laws, these relate to the establishment of a standard of conduct of owners and occupiers within the development.

Constitution

Deals with the internal procedures of any Owners Association and describes the role of the Board and Association manager.

Conveyancing

Transferring ownership of a property from the seller to the buyer.

Entitlements

Each individual unit within a development is allocated a unit entitlement as shown on the Jointly Owned Property Declaration that represents the proportionate share of ownership in the Jointly Owned Property.

The amount of the unit entitlement varies depending on the size of the unit and its calculation is based on the proportionate space of the unit compared to the overall floor space of the building.

Unit entitlements regulate what portion of the total annual budgeted service charges will be paid by each unit owner and governs the voting rights of unit owners at the Annual General Assembly.

First Annual General Assembly (FAGA)

The First Annual General Assembly (FAGA) is the very first meeting of owners in a Jointly Owned Property.

General Fund

Monies used to cover all the day-to-day and regular expenses of the Owners Association, such as municipality charges, electricity, landscaping, cleaning, insurance premiums, routine repairs and maintenance of the common areas, Owners Association management fees and so on.

Harmony

Describes the level of owner satisfaction that exists within a Jointly Owned Property development. This relates to issues associated with disputes of varying types.

Jointly Owned Property (JOP)

Ownership of real estate where the whole or part of a building or land or both has been divided into units (for private ownership) and common areas (to be owned in common by all the unit owners in the development) and is intended for separate ownership.

Jointly Owned Property Declaration

The terms and conditions governing the development and operation of Jointly Owned Property.
The declaration is prepared by the developer of a building or project and filed at the Land Department. This document must disclose a great deal of detail about the Jointly Owned Property, including site plans, entitlements, community rules and to a potential purchaser, including, meetings, voting, records, payment of service charges and so on.

Master Community Declaration

The terms and conditions governing the development and operation of Jointly Owned Property.

Occupant Register

A catalogue maintained by the Owners Association manager that records all current occupants residing in the building. This is prepared to ensure safety in the event of an emergency, in case the building may need to be evacuated.

The Owner

The person who is registered as an owner of a unit in the register, including persons with a long-term lease or usufruct right for limited period and also the master developer or the sub-developer in regards to unsold units.

Owners Association

A separate legal entity consisting of all the owners of the units in a Jointly Owned Property Development. The Owners Association is established when title to the first unit is transferred from the developer to a party other than the developer and when the Jointly Owned Property Declaration is registered with the Land Department.

The Owners Association is charged with managing the development and in particular the common areas. All individual owners of properties in a building or community are automatically the members of the Owners Association.

Tenants are not members of the Owners Association but are still required to adhere to the Community Rules.
An Owners Association is a “not for profit” legal entity in its own right in the same manner as a company is a separate legal entity from its shareholders. Once registered, the Owners Association may sue and be sued and has the right to own and dispose of movable assets and it may enter into service agreements.

Owner Association Constitution

Contains the rules and regulations that govern the Owners Association and is issued in accordance with Law No. 27 of 2007.

Owners Roll Register

A catalogue maintained by the Owners Association that records all the owners of the building. This roll is updated when properties are sold or when owners notify a change of their contact details.

It is the responsibility of each unit owner to ensure they notify the Owners Association of the change of ownership and is also one of the records that determine whether a registered owner is eligible to vote at the Annual General Assembly.

RERA

Real Estate and Regulatory Authority.

Reserve Fund

Monies used to cover capital improvements and major repair or replacement. The Reserve Fund is raised to meet the anticipated cost of expenditures of a capital nature required on the part of the Owners Association that may arise other than annually such as, replacement of lift equipment, common area painting, structural defect rectification, and unexpected emergencies.

Service Charges

Financial contributions, made by all owners of the Owners Association to cover regular expenditure and future major works. The amount paid by each unit owner is regulated by and in proportion to the unit entitlement assigned to the respective units and is distributed to both the General Fund and the Reserve Fund in accordance with the budget approved by the owners at a general assembly. These monies must be kept in a bank account in the name of the Owners Association with a bank approved by the Regulatory Authority.

Shared Facilities

A term used when a Building Management Statement is formed based on a site plan to indicate common areas used by two or more Owners Associations.

Site Plan

Also known as the subdivision plan or survey plan. This is the actual survey taken of the Jointly Owned Property Development and registered with the Land Department, showing the building on the land, the units making up the plan and the common areas; that is, a plan registered in the register showing the units and its common areas

Strata Scheme

A term commonly used in other legal jurisdictions such as Australia and Singapore to describe Jointly Owned Property in the UAE.

Stratum Subdivision

Also known as Volumetric Subdivision. Used to create units that separately define different component use areas within a building.

Each component will be a unit within the Jointly Owned Property and there will usually be a contract in place between each unit of the subdivided building relating to aspects of its management and use (Building Management Statement). This type of subdivision is more commonly used for the management of mixed-use developments.

Supply Agreement

Any agreement for goods or services, with the Owners Association, that has a term of one year or more.

Survey

A survey is a document that provides confirmation of the property boundaries and improvements.

Units

Any part of a Jointly Owned Property development sold; that is, apartments, offices, retail and plots of land.

Utility Service

Any of the following services:

  1. Water reticulation or supply.
  2. Gas reticulation or supply.
  3. Electricity supply.
  4. Air conditioning.
  5. Telephone service.
  6. Computer data or television service.
  7. Sewerage.
  8. Drainage.
  9. A system for the removal or disposal of garbage or waste.
  10. System for the delivery of mail, parcels, or goods.
  11. Any other system or service designed to enhance the utilities of units or common areas.

Valuation

A valuation is an estimate of the property value that is made by a qualified, valuation practitioner.

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