Overview

  • There is no trust law in Oman and is not possible for anyone to hold real estate in their name unless specifically permitted by the law in some cases.
  • In Oman, foreigners cannot own land or property, therefore some foreigners buy it in the name of an Omani national and enter into a trust agreement. However, this agency cannot be enforced before the Oman courts.
  • Also, the undisclosed principal has led to many incidents in Oman. There were several complaints from principals where they have lost money by investing in a bad property relying on the agents.
  • In June 2017, the Ministry of Housing passed new regulations by which all brokers in real estate must be registered and certified by the Ministry.
  • In this Practice Note, we will discuss how agency in real estate works in Oman.

Practical Guidance

  • Since the concept of trust or agency is not recognized in the case of real estate, any such arrangement will be invalid and not enforceable by law. So, in order to safeguard the monetary interest behind the real estate, the parties enter into commercial loan agreements so at least they are repaid when they are no longer able to hold the property through an agent.
  • In some cases, the courts can be very stringent and do not honour even the loan agreements entered around the
  • arrangement to discourage such practice.
  • A limited liability company (LLC) that has foreign shareholding can own an administrative office or a warehouse or for its own purpose. However, an LLC cannot act as an agent for more than one property.
  • Property settled as Waqf endowment under Oman Sultani Decree No. 5/1980 on Regulating Use of Lands in the
  • Sultanate will be governed by the Waqf board as the custodian and/or trustee of the underlying assets.
  • Private trustees and/or custodians are present in Real Estate Investment Fund (REIF) structures where the owners own the units of the REIF and REIF owns multiple property under it.

Related Content

Legislation

  • Oman Sultani Decree No. 5/1980 on Regulating Use of Lands in the Sultanate
  • Oman Sultani Decree No. 5/1980 on Regulating Use of Lands in the Sultanate
  • Oman Sultani Decree No. 2/1998 Promulgating the Land Register Law
  • Oman Ministerial Decision No. 43/1998 on the Regulations of Corporate Ownership and Registration of Real Estate
  • Oman Sultani Decree No. 12/2006 on the System of Real Estate Acquisition by Non-Omanis in Integrated Tourism Complexes
  • Oman Sultani Decree No. 21/2004 on Regulating the Ownership by GCC Nationals of a Property in the Member State
  • Oman Sultani Decree No. 76/2010 Promulgating Corporate Ownership of Land and Real Estates
  • Oman Ministerial Decision No. 5/2011 Regarding Commercial or Residential-Commercial or Industrial Lands Ownership
  • Oman Sultani Decree No. 29/2018 Promulgating the Law Prohibiting Ownership of Lands and Real Estate Properties by Non-Omanis in Certain Places
  • Oman Ministerial Decision No. 43/2012 Organizing Areal Extensions and Increases for GCC Citizens, Non-Omanis and Omani Juridical Persons
  • Oman Sultani Decree No. 29/2013 Omani Civil Transactions Law
  • Oman Sultani Decree No. 5/1981 on the Usufruct Law
  • Oman Sultani Decree No. 88/1982 on the Executive Regulations of Oman Sultani Decree No. 5/1981 on the Usufruct Law

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