A NEW campaign aimed at raising awareness among property buyers of their rights will be launched by Bahrain’s real estate watchdog today.
Advertisements will be put up on lamp-posts across the nation, urging customers to deal only with property developers and brokers licensed by the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA).
The new campaign comes as a six-month deadline for developers to regularise their activities ends today.
The GDN reported on Monday that RERA had warned the developers to get licensed by today, failing which they will face legal sanctions and penalties.
“Now that the six-month transition period for developers is coming to an end, RERA is shifting its focus to consumers,” a senior RERA official told the GDN.
“We are launching a campaign today during which lamp-post advertisements will be put out across Bahrain with awareness messages to consumers.
“We aim to tell them to secure their rights and get protection under the law, by dealing with RERA-licensed real estate developers and brokers.”
The buyers will now have the right to pull out of an agreement to purchase a property if they are unhappy, with RERA providing them legal support if the developer is licensed.
“We urge customers to read the contracts and to use due diligence by dealing with RERA-licensed entities, otherwise they are exposing themselves to risks,” said the official.
“Under the new law, if you are buying from a RERA-licensed off-plan developer the latter is obliged to disclose all the information of the property and the facilities promised, details of which are registered with us (RERA).
“For example, if a client has hurriedly decided to purchase a property and already made part payment but then decides not to go ahead with the purchase, there will be a seven-day cooling period.
“Payments can only be made against engineer certificates; if the developer says that the property its 40 per cent complete, it has to be certified by independent engineers who are registered with us (RERA).
“We check the developers’ track record to decide whether they should be licensed or if they have any pending legal issues; we also check the nature of the development, followed by the consumer protection side.
“We will also have the developer issue the best disclosure statement which if breached will attract sanctions.
“If the developer says there is a pool somewhere, he can’t at any point of time change it into a shop – the rules are much more stricter now.
“Our key motive is to protect the consumers’ rights; now the focus is entirely on their actions.
“We are not here to destroy the market but to boost it, increase investments and ensure transparency.”
He pledged that RERA will also probe claims by customers related to existing developments that are licensed under the new rules, adding that 98pc of real estate brokers and 95pc of off-plan developers regularised their status during the transition period.
However, he said no decision has yet been made on the penalty for those who missed the deadline.
Ever since it was set up on March 1, RERA has passed a number of resolutions, and going forward it aims to regulate valuers and managers of owners associations.
RERA chief executive Shaikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa earlier said that it was working on regulations “with a view to ensuring the mistakes of the past do not