Property Protection And Owner’s Rights In UAE – Real Estate … – Mondaq News Alerts

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Property rights and the protection of personal belongings are
essential aspects of any society governed by the rule of law. In
the UAE, specific laws and regulations are in place to safeguard

This article explores the key provisions of UAE laws related to
property protection and owner’s rights, specifically focusing
on Federal Decree-Law No. 31/2021, Dubai Administrative Decision
No. 1/2016, Dubai Law No. 5/2015, and Sharjah Executive Council
Decision No. 10/2021.

Federal Decree-Law No. 31/2021: Protection of Lost

Federal Decree-Law No. 31/2021, known as the UAE penal code,
includes provisions related to lost property. Article 454 of this
law specifies that any person who takes possession of lost property
owned by another, with the intent to own it, may face a jail
sentence of up to two years or a fine of not less than AED twenty

This law emphasizes the importance of respecting the rights of
property owners and discourages any form of unauthorized possession
of lost items.

Dubai Administrative Decision No. 1/2016: Handling Lost and
Abandoned Property

Dubai Administrative Decision No. 1/2016 outlines the procedures
for managing lost and abandoned property within the Emirate of
Dubai, providing clear definitions and guidelines for proper

According to Article 2 of the law, terms such as Lost Property,
Abandoned Property, Owner of Lost Property, and Finder are defined
to ensure clarity and consistency in the application of the

The decision also outlines the procedures for reporting lost
property, emphasizing the importance of accurate documentation and
proof of ownership when reporting lost items.

The competencies of the Dubai Police in dealing with lost and
abandoned property are detailed under this law:

  • The Police are responsible for receiving reports of lost
  • They receive and preserve lost property in a suitable
  • Special records are created to document lost property,
    including its description, condition, date, time of finding, and
    place of discovery.
  • The Police are responsible for estimating the expenses related
    to the preservation, announcement, and disposition of lost

Dubai Law No. 5/2015 and Dubai Administrative Decision No.
1/2016 specify that the Dubai Police must preserve lost property
for a minimum of one year from the date of discovery. During this
period, the Police may announce the existence of lost property
through various means, including electronic methods.

Owners of lost property in Dubai have certain rights and
avenues for recovery:

  • Owners can reclaim their lost property before the Police
    dispose of
  • If the lost property has already been sold, owners have the
    right to claim its price within a specified timeframe.
  • In cases where multiple individuals claim ownership of the same
    property, the competent court will issue a final judgment regarding

Finders of lost property in Dubai may be recognized and
rewarded for their honesty:

  • Finders may receive gratitude certificates as recognition of
    their integrity.
  • They may also receive financial rewards, which can amount to up
    to 10% of the value of the lost property, not exceeding AED 50,000.
    Certain conditions and restrictions apply, such as the absence of
    kinship between the finder and the owner of the lost property.

Sharjah Executive Council Decision No. 10/2021: Handling Lost
and Abandoned Property

Sharjah also has its legal framework for property protection and
owner’s rights governed by Sharjah Executive Council Decision
No. 10/2021. The law establishes procedures for handling lost and
abandoned property in Sharjah:

  • Finders of lost property in Sharjah must hand it over to the
    Sharjah Police within 48 hours from the date of finding it. They
    are prohibited from disposing of or holding the property with the
    intention of possession.
  • While the law in Sharjah does not specify a minimum
    preservation period for lost property, the Police have the
    authority to dispose of lost property under certain circumstances,
    such as when it is feared to be damaged or destroyed, or when the
    costs of keeping and announcing it exceed its value.

Owner’s Rights and Recovery of Lost Property in

  • Owners of lost property in Sharjah have the right to recover
    their belongings before they are disposed of by the Police. If the
    property has already been sold, owners can claim its price within a
    specified timeframe.

Rights and Rewards for Finders in Sharjah

  • The law in Sharjah allows for recognition and rewards for
    finders of lost property. Finders may receive rewards or
    recognition as determined by the authorities.

Handling of Lost Property in Other Emirates

In addition to Dubai and Sharjah, all emirates in the UAE have
entrusted their Police Departments with the authority to manage and
oversee matters related to lost and abandoned property. Each
emirate’s Police Department plays a central role in
implementing the laws and regulations governing the handling of
lost property within its jurisdiction. In all emirates, the Police
Departments have been designated as the competent authorities to
ensure that lost and abandoned property is managed in a systematic
and organized manner, safeguarding the rights of both property
owners and finders.


Across the UAE, these laws and procedures ensure that lost and
abandoned property is handled fairly and systematically, respecting
the interests of both property owners and finders.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

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