QROPS – Its Benefits, Requirements and Pitfalls

When a UK resident moves permanently abroad he has an option to transfer his UK pension into an overseas Pension Scheme QROPS.

Basically a QROPS is an overseas pension scheme that is approved by HM Revenue and Customs. This gives the ability to transfer a UK Pension Benefits scheme to a QROPS without incurring scheme sanctions (penalties) and unauthorized payment charges to an offshore Pension scheme.

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Capital Gain Tax Imposed to Ex-UK Residents

In 2012, it was estimated that there were 240,000 Britons living in the UAE and they are considered the largest western community in the United Arab Emirates today. Generally, British expats tend to work in the banking, construction, tourism, oil, insurance and the business sector.

Most Brits emigrate to the UAE to enjoy the beautiful beaches, lively social life and a chance to explore the different landscape in the Middle East. Although life can be expensive, especially in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, but in most areas it’s very easy to achieve a high standard of life for less than what you need to spend in the UK and most importantly, you are paying no taxes and your earnings are yours to spend.

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What You Need To Know About BitCoins

A Bitcoin is a digital currency that was introduced in 2008 by Satoshi Nakamoto. It is often called a cryptocurrency, because it uses cryptography to prevent double spending, which is a common problem in digital currencies. All individual transaction will be permanently recorded in a public ledger. This ledger is called a blockchain. Also, a network of private computers will handle the payment processing and these computers are specially tailored for these types of tasks.

Bitcoins are very popular these days. In fact, it’s now being used in various countries in the world. It even piques the interest of the US Senate that they conducted two separate hearings to discuss the effects of Bitcoins in the global market. Even Silicon Valley is now betting millions on this particular virtual currency.

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Examining the Credibility of Comparison Sites

When I was reading an article regarding comparison websites in the UK, I was a bit surprised to learn that there were some comparison websites that do not really compare the prices and quality of insurance products. As a matter of fact, fourteen price comparison sites are now being investigated due to reports that they may be misleading customers.

The Financial Conduct Authority is currently examining these sites, and they want to check for any activity that can be considered as conflict of interest. One example is when a comparison site is promoting deals that they want customers to buy and focusing too much on the price of the product rather than quality and customer service.

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The New Dubai Rental Dispute Settlement Center

A new decree has been issued by his Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The Decree 26 of 2013 which will pave the way for the formation of the Dubai Rental Dispute Settlement Center or commonly known as just “the Center.”

This new decree is aimed to put together a specialized judicial system that will quickly and simply deal with rental disputes. In my opinion, this is a good way of settling landlord-tenant disputes. In fact, the Center will be responsible in providing the final resolution to any rental dispute. The chairman for the Center will be His Excellency Judge Abdul Qader Mousa including lawyers and administrative staff.

The Center will have a “Reconciliation Department” who will attempt to lawfully settle rental disputes within the 15 day-period from the date when the parties’ first appeared before the Reconciliation Department.

rental dispute

What if a certain dispute is not resolve by the Reconciliation Department?

In case, the reconciliation is not successful, the case will then be transferred to the First Instance Department, which will consist of committees with a chairman and two members which should competent in law and real estate and must have sufficient experience in these types of cases. Therefore, the First Instance Department shall decide a rental dispute within 30 days from the date the case was referred to the department.

However, the decision of the First Instance Department may be appealed to the Appeal Department as long as the total amount of the rental dispute is equal to or more than AED100,000. Any other disputes which are less than AED100,000 cannot be appealed except for some specific circumstances. Although an appeal must be files within 15 days from the day the First Department’s decision has been executed. If there’s no appeal then the final decision shall be executed by the Execution Department which is affiliated with the Center.

How much would they charge the parties (landlord and tenant)?

The charges and costs of the Center shall be determined by the Chairman of the Executive Council of the Emirate of Dubai. Without any resolution from the chairman, the charges and costs of the Rent Committee of the Dubai Municipality shall apply.

In addition, the Center will now be replacing the Rent Committee and it will be the government body that will hear and decide all rental disputes. So, all employees at the Rent Committee shall now be transferred the Land Department of Dubai.

My Final Thoughts:

The number of rental dispute cases in Dubai is rising every day, and to better serve both the parties (landlords and tenants), the creation of a new government body like the Center is always a good thing. This will speed up the legal process and it will also prove to the world that the government of Dubai will always protect the rights of the tenants, especially expats and foreign investors.

How to Make Extra Money in the UAE

If you’re living and working in Dubai or in any other emirate in the UAE, chances are that you’re looking for an extra source of income that you can add to your existing salary per month. But in order to achieve the income that you’re looking for, it’s necessary for you to think outside of the box. Know what capabilities and skills you have that you can turn into activities that pay.

However, you need to start with a realistic look and determine the skills that you can use for your venture. Actually, it may be wise to choose an activity that suits your time limitation. You don’t want to jeopardize your primary job for a sideline.

making moneyHere are some tips that you can consider if you want to make some extra money within a short period of time.

Know Your Passion

Ask yourself, what are you good at aside from your current profession? Your passion can range from playing a sport, writing a short novel or cooking a specialized cuisine in the UAE. Always remember, everyone has an edge in something that they are interested in. With a little bit of thinking, you can turn a hobby into a product for money. So, once you know what you’re really good at, think of a product and imagine how you can make it stand out in the market. For example, if you’re good at a particular cuisine in Dubai, why not enhance your recipe? You can add some more ingredients to make that cuisine one of a kind or you can even write a book about it and sell it online.

Establish a Realistic Plan

You don’t need to have an in-depth business plan to know how you can make money from a particular activity. But you need to make sure that you can turn your hobby into a reliable source of income. So, decide on what type of product you want to market, its selling point and how it can benefit your prospective customers. For example, if you’re good at making novelty items, you can set a website and sell your products there. It would also be possible to use the social media in promoting your products. This type of plan doesn’t require fixed hours like those on a part-time job and it’s very low cost.

Turn Your Hobby into Money

Once you set your plan, your next important step is to have a goal. You can set a realistic goal like meeting your customer’s expectation, so you will develop a product to meet all their expectations. If you provide them something useful or at least solve their common problems, then you will definitely sell your product and that could mean extra income.

Manage your budget

If you start earning money and you already have a steady income, then you need to account for all your expenses. This will include marketing, materials, transportation and so on. It wouldn’t matter if you’re breaking even in the first few months; just wait for a couple of months to stabilize your venture and profits will surely come.

Protecting Your Rights over Unlawful Rental Increase in Dubai

Over the past few months, property prices in Dubai have risen sharply, and so are the rental rates on new apartments and commercials spaces.

A lot of my friends who are also expats claimed that their landlord have tried to take advantage of the frothy market and are trying to increase the rent substantially. Most of these increases are against the law, but only a small fraction of the tenants who live and work in Dubai are aware of their rights and the tenancy law.

So, how can a tenant know if the rental increase demanded by the landlord is legal?

For starters, you need to know that there is a government agency responsible in regulating rental fees. This agency is called Real Estate Regulatory Agency or RERA. There are strict laws regulating rental increase, and the best way to educate yourself is to visit their official website – RERA.

There are various tenancy laws in Dubai, but the regular rate that the landlord can demand will range from 5 per cent to a maximum of 20 per cent. However, it can only be implemented if the existing rent is below the standard market rate which is stated in RERA’s rent index.

So, it would be wise to use the RERA’s rental index calculator, which you can also find on their official website. This particular index compares the rental fees of various properties in Dubai and updates the database four times in a year. By using the index calculator, you will find out if the increase is truly fair and lawful.

Actually, the law protects both the landlord and the tenant and RERA regulates the relationship by implementing laws that would be fair for both parties. That’s why I always urge my friends to use the rental index calculator before they confront their landlords. It’s always a good strategy if your complaints have basis.

What are the important laws governing “rental increase” that you should know about?

Article 9 of the Dubai Law No. 26 of 2007 states rent should not be increased prior to completion of two years from the start date of the tenancy contract.

Other essential laws are as follows:

  • A landlord must give a 90 day notice to his tenant if he plans to increase the rent, which has to be based on Real Estate Regulatory Agency’s (Rera) rent index.
  • There should not be any rent increase, if the rent for the real estate unit is up to 25% below the average similar rent.
  • If the rent value was 26% to 35% less than the average similar rent; the maximum rent increase shall be equal to 5% of such value.
  • If the rent value was 36% to 45% less than the average similar rent; the maximum rent increase shall be equal to 10% of such value.
  •  If the rent value was 46% to 55% less than the average similar rent; the maximum rent increase shall be equal to 15% of such value.
  • If the rent value was less than 55% of the average similar rent; the maximum rent increase shall be equal to 20% of such value.
  • A Landlord must provide 90 days notice to a tenant if the lease is not permitted to be renewed by the Tenant
  • Law (26) of 2007 – Article (9) Landlord should not increase such rent value or amend any of tenancy contract conditions until the elapse of two years from date of tenancy contract. Even after two years, if Rent Calculator shows no need of increase, then no need of increase. Only pay the within the market (RERA Calculator) price.

What happens if you find out that the rent increase violates the rent cap?

Rental IncreaseIf you are certain that the increase demanded by your landlord is illegal, then the first thing you need to do is to negotiate with your landlord. Talk to him and find a common ground that could benefit the both of you. You should also show him the Rental Index Calculator, and tell him that this is what the law stipulates. If he sees the rate accepted under the index calculator, then it might even change his mind.

In case, the landlord disagrees with your terms and you’ve reached a deadlock. It’s now time to settle your rental dispute at the Rent Committee, which is a branch of the Land Department of Dubai. This is the government body that has jurisdiction over tenant-landlord issues. But this can be your last resort, if all other avenues have failed in providing a more diplomatic solution to your problem.

For more info, you can visit http://www.dubailand.gov.ae/engdefault.aspx

How to Avoid Being Broke In Dubai?

If you are working in Dubai and you’re earning at least Dh20,000 per month, but you no longer have money in your savings account, then you will most likely be ruining your chances for a good future in the UAE. As a matter of fact, this is a sad reality for thousands of expats who came to the country with dreams of earning big money, but only to end up as broke with hardly enough savings to support their daily needs. Expats who spent years of living the high life or were lured by various discount offers and shopping festivals are the most common candidate for this dilemma.

broke

Usually, people who succumb to temptation like those who want a bigger villa, nicer car and pricier signature items are trading their present for a bad future, according to some financial experts. Take the case of Hans, a German working in Dubai for almost 10 years. He has never been married and has no children, but he has gathered an accumulated debt of Dh250,000 on six separate credit cards. His bills, food and rent take up most of his Dh27,000 paycheck, and this has left him with no savings or money at the end of the month. Hans earns well, but he is struggling due to his debt and his chances for having a good future in the UAE are quite grim.

How can you protect your finances in Dubai?

When you come to Dubai to live and work, then you must have a positive mentality. You need to maximize your earnings by listing all your financial priorities. So, what would be your priorities?

  1. Get a pension plan – In 2012, Dubai has become the first Gulf state to have a pension fund specifically for expatriates. This will guarantee that expat workers will receive their ESB (End of Service Benefits). Financial experts also think that a pension fund can help protect expats in their retirement years. However, before you get a pension plan, you need to check if you’re dealing with a reputable company (beware of high costs and long lock-in periods).
  2.  Avoid getting too many credit cards – Expats are tempted to get as many credit cards as they can, because it is relatively easy to acquire one in Dubai. When you have credit cards at your disposal and you go to a mall, chances are that you will end up shopping for items you don’t really need.
  3.  Always include savings in your budget – It would be wise to set your savings up to 30 percent of your total net income. In the UAE there is not social buffer like in Europe, no unemployment and no pension. That is why there is no tax. From the moment you land and until the moment you take off, put 30% away. If it means going without your latte, then go without the latte, the alternative is leaving and having built nothing for the future.
  4. Diversify your investments – this only means that you should not only put your money in the bank, but you should also invest in other fruitful ventures like buying a property that would generally increase in value over time. It would also be a great idea to put some of your money in stocks or mutual funds that could provide you with a good long-term growth potential.
  5. Get a life insurance – I am against insurance savings packages due to large costs and lock-in periods. Instead invest directly (it is cheaper) only take out insurance for your needs, it is much cheaper and more flexible. Also consider critical illness, who knows you may fall seriously ill and still have to look after your family. Tip.. if you buy a property, banks will insist on life insurance. The banks tend to be expensive. Save money by using your current life insurance or take out a new one. Check to see that this is allowed with the bank, consider another bank if they do not, you may save a small fortune on this tip.

My Advice:

Seek the services of a credible financial advisor or a firm who has years of experience in the financial industry, especially those who are also living in the UAE for quite some time now. These experts will give you some good options which you can choose to secure your future in the UAE. Also, you need to balance your wants against the needs and demands of your family.

The First Online Real Estate Auction in Dubai Via eMart

The Dubai Land Department through their official online portal (eMart) has just announced that they will be releasing 17 real estate properties for online auction which will be held on December 4, 2013. These properties will include both commercial and residential properties, with a full list of attributes including a detailed map, which will give prospective buyers an in-depth look on each property. The Land Department has come up with this initiative to simplify all procedures for stakeholders and real estate operators.

According to Sultan Butti Bin Mejren – the Director-General of the Land Department of Dubai, “eMart will provide some unique advantages that will streamline all real estate processes in the emirate and it will greatly benefit the stakeholders in the real estate industry.” Eventually, eMart will significantly enhance the size of real estate transactions in Dubai.

He confirmed that the initial 17 properties which they had launched through the online portal is a clear indication of the security and transparency of the eMart. He also added that this important step is aimed to increase the real estate transactions and operations in the future. This will also paved the way for other initiatives that can elevate the overall performance of the site, so it can meet the demands of the industry in today’s standards.

real estate auctionThe eMart has several real estate services, which includes sale, purchase, auction, and rental of properties. It can also give prospective buyers the option to immediately hold a property while they are still viewing the details. It also allows them to complete the purchase of a certain property which they can conveniently pay through the Land Department of Dubai. The buyers also have the option to pay the property via Noqodi (payment gateway used to pay government services in the UAE).

This new development will move the government of Dubai towards smart governance, and this new information technology will simplify and facilitate government services to residents, citizens, businesses, visitors, employees, and governmental departments across multiple electronic channels.

The online real estate auction which is considered as the first of its kind in the UAE is a vivid example of competitiveness and transparency, because all the bids that are submitted to the online portal via Internet-enabled devices and mobile phones will be regulated and must meet the conditions of registration. This is clearly the vision of the Government of Dubai which aims to promote the real estate industry in the emirate.

Diabetes – A Lifestyle Disease Not Only In The GCC

According to medical experts, there are approximately 382 million people in the world are now living with diabetes. The vast majority of these individuals have type-2 diabetes, which can be caused by lack of exercise and obesity. The disease is spreading among developing countries, especially those who adopt urban and western lifestyles. So far, the latest record is 371 million cases worldwide, and this data was confirmed by the International Diabetes Federation. It is estimated that in 2035, the number of cases will go up by 55% which would amount to 592 million cases.

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