Expats in Bahrain to have property rights
Manama, May 14, 2013
Expatriates in Bahrain will soon be able to own property they inherit from Bahraini relatives under a new survey and land registration law, according to a report.
Bahrain’s Shura Council yesterday (May 13) approved 20 articles in the legislation, with discussions due to continue next week, said the report in the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
Foreigners currently face obstacles if they inherit property in Bahrain located in an area where expats are not allowed to own a home, land or business.
However, a consultant told the Shura Council yesterday that they are entitled to their inheritance.
His explanation will now be included in the new law and will be referred to by courts if such situations arise in future.
"Expatriates can inherit from their Bahraini mothers and non-Bahraini cousins and distant relatives have the right to do so, but they can't utilise the property unless it is in designated areas where they are allowed to have investment projects," explained Survey and Land Registration Bureau legal consultant Nouriddin Mahmood.
"Those inheritors can easily sell the property for cash or have it replaced with another property in an area where expatriates are allowed to own."
Council chairman Ali Saleh Al Saleh asked for Mahmood's comments to be recorded as the official explanation in the new law, adding that the situation was currently unclear.
"There are cases in which non-Bahrainis from Bahraini mothers are stopped from having deeds changed to their names because the home they inherited is located in area where expatriates are barred ownership," he said.
"There was a case in an Arab country which opened land sales for non-nationals, but after a while came up with new legislation that stopped the transfer of properties as an inheritance - forcing the owner's children to sell with refusals to transfer deeds.
"We don't want to see that happening here. When someone owns property through inheritance then it is his or hers and they should have the right to register it under their names whether they want to sell it or keep it. That's up to them."
However, bureau registration consultant Yousif Al Ammari said there were already examples of expats getting inherited property registered in their names.
Council public utilities and environment affairs committee vice-chairman Faoud Al Haji said the new law was supported by the Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry, the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Bahrain Real Estate Society.
"The new law is a merger between two draft bills presented by the government and parliament and will throw out a survey and land registration legislation that was introduced in the 70s," he said. "It includes major changes to the property registration rate, which will be reduced in line with competition in the region."
GCC nationals are already treated the same as Bahrainis in such cases. – TradeArabia News Service