Technology has brought about great changes to almost every industry around the globe, and Dubai Real Estate has always ensured that it stay ahead of the game by introducing the newest of methods in transacting through cryptocurrencies, inventing cloud based virtual tours to experience property via devices from literally anywhere in the world, and even regulating hundreds and thousands of advertisements online through trakheesi system. However, moving at this rapid pace, there are some technologies that have been overlooked or have not been considered as much which could have optimized and streamlined real estate processes to a great extent.
One such technology is the introduction of digital signatures or e-signatures. A digital signature is an authenticity algorithm that converges certain parameters like device IDs, signatory IP address, time stamp and other important elements along with two factor authentication that ensures that the agreement or form is signed by the same concerned person, which can be back-tracked anytime by authorities, hence the signing person cannot deny signing in. The digital signatures can be performed on certain PDF documents as well as online via portals, further, these signatures can optionally be regulated by third party service providers which adds in additional security.
The implication of digital signatures within Dubai Real Estate has an enormous prospect since usually in every transaction whether sale or rent of a property, or any other relevant procedure signatures from both the parties are mandatory and according to the statistics with more than 38% of the landlords residing outside of UAE and many usually travelling abroad makes the process of getting the signatures slows down the process drastically. An alternative analogy to this scenario is the usage of POA (Power of Attorney) which needs to be originally signed by the authorizer and then needs to be attested through regulatory authorities which takes away the whole essence of convenience and utilization of technology optimally. When it comes to Digital Signatures, although the technology is completely robust but still in order to mitigate the risks, while implementing these digital signatures can be initially introduced on non-financial transactions like signing of marketing contracts (Form A), advertisement permissions, NOCs, acknowledging notices and ejari registrations, and then at later stages it can implemented for tenancy contracts and MOU which would not only save time for couriers and logistics, but also would be highly convenient as it would not require the concerned person to sign, stamp, scan and send it back to the sender and wait for acknowledgement.
Similarly, these digital signatures can become very handy when it comes to property management, asset management, online applications and when dealing with owner associations. For instance, within master communities if there are certain permits required to conduct an activity, currently the process has reached only up to the level that the applicant can download the application and then fill it out which later needs to be printed, signed, scanned and then emailed back or uploaded onto the portal. In this process the essence of paperless environment is lost completely, and since there are manual steps involved, they not only result in wastage of energy, resources but consumes time which eventually becomes less efficient.
Over the past few years, there has been significant enhancement made on digital signatures globally where the signatories can use their handheld devices, personal computers or even public computers that allow them to securely sign a PDF document file or these signatures can be performed via logging onto a specific portal which results in convenient, secure and smooth transaction. Currently more than 36 countries including USA, China, Japan, Russia and many European countries are already using digital signatures and have passed on Laws and Acts for defining the usage and boundaries of Digital Signatures, and its high time that UAE should start considering this medium specially in Real Estate which would be a game changer when it comes convenience and sustainability.
Any technology that gets embedded within a business process gradually integrates and matures over time. And currently, it is high time that digital signatures should be allowed within the real estate processes which would allow convenience and higher efficiency to almost all the stakeholders. In the conventional processes which depends a lot upon POAs and courier companies, the utilization of resources are not optimal, whereas the introduction of digital signatures would allow better convenience, more control and most importantly will save time by speeding up the process and making it secure and trackable digitally.
Author: Mohsin Ayub
Homes 4 Life Real Estate