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Who Owns Lost Property?

17/6/2021

A property is considered to be “lost” if the rightful owner has parted with it involuntarily or is ignorant of its location. It is a current issue that any attorney in Dubai is familiar with. The good news is, if you have lost property in the UAE, then there’s a great chance you’ll get it back.

A property is considered to be “lost” if the rightful owner has parted with it involuntarily or is ignorant of its location. It is a current issue that any attorney in Dubai is familiar with. The good news is, if you have lost property in the UAE, then there’s a great chance you’ll get it back. His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, in his capacity as Ruler of Dubai, has issued Law No (5) of 2015 governing lost and abandoned property in Dubai.

Article (2) of Law No (5) of 2015 defines lost property as the monies and properties that are “acquired by law, has a value, was lost by its lawful owner without deliberate intention, and found within the emirate of Dubai.” The law stipulates that the finder of lost property must surrender it to the authorities within 48 hours. More so, the finder may not claim ownership and may not dispose of such property. This means keeping the property to yourself is subject to criminal liability and punishment.

The law also prescribes the duties and powers of Dubai Police when it comes to implementing the provisions, including receiving reports on lost properties, keeping lost-and-found properties in proper places, and maintaining records of the property. They must document the finder’s information, a detailed description and condition of the property, and other relevant data. Legal firms in Dubai support the issuance of Law No (5) of 2015 as it is aimed to regulate the procedures applied on lost properties and encourage people to return lost properties to their owners.

According to the law, the finder of lost property is entitled to receive 10% of the lost property’s total value up to a maximum of AED 50,000 as a form of reward. It is payable whether the original owner claims the property or not. The finder may also claim the entire property if it is not reunited to its original owner within one year of handing it over to the Police. BUT there are certain conditions to claiming it. The finder still has to “maintain it in good condition and return it to the original owner upon his request”.

A lost property continues to be owned by the person who lost it. When another person finds lost property, he is entitled to possession against everyone, with the exception of the original owner. However, rules and conditions may be different for mislaid (when an owner forgets where the property has been placed) or abandoned (when an owner relinquishes all rights) properties. It is important to consult a property attorney for these types of cases.

You can rely on the experts of Motei & Associates to help you with any legal concerns. They have over a decade of local and regional experience in several practices, from commercial transactions and corporate advisory to dispute resolution and wills. If you need a real estate lawyer, Dubai has the best! Book an appointment with Motei & Associates today by calling +971 4 435 5959.

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