New Qatar Rent Laws from Feb 2008

amnesia's picture


Doha • A new rent law passed yesterday and to be brought into force from today makes all existing tenancy contracts valid until February 14, 2010.

It provides for the Cabinet to issue a decision regarding the percentage of increase and the period after which a property owner can raise the rent.

It implies that unless the Cabinet issues a decision, no landlord can now increase the rent by any amount.

The law (Number 4 of 2008) was ratified by the Emir, H H Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, nullifying Law Number 2 of 1975.

Article 27 of the new law specifies that unless a tenant does not want to renew a rent contract, all current contracts will be legally valid until February 14, 2010, provided a tenant continues to stay in or occupy the property.

It has been made illegal for people to take properties on rent from owners and sublet in full or part to others without the written permission of the landlord. Likewise, it is illegal for anyone to take a property on rent from anyone else other than the owner.

Tenants subletting part of a property to others will now need the written permission of the owner to do so.

All existing contracts need to be registered by the owners within a year starting from today with an office to be set up at the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Agriculture (MMAA) for the purpose.

Property owners will be required to pay one percent of the annual rent amount as registration charges. The fee can be increased by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Agriculture.

And after this office is set up, new rent agreements being signed will have to be registered with it within 30 days or owners would have to pay huge fines.

Delaying the registration for a month can attract a fine of up to 25 percent of the annual rent. The percentage can go up to 50 for two months' delay and 100 if the delay is for four months or more.

The law provides for the setting up of a rent dispute settlement committee at the MMAA. It is to be headed by a judge and will have two members nominated by the Minister.

The law directs the committee to issue its decisions on an urgent basis. People can go in appeal against its decisions at a specialized court of appeals within 15 days of the decision having been issued.

Until the committee comes into being, all rent and related disputes arising even after the law is in force will have to be referred to the court. And the cases involving rent and related disputes already being heard by the various courts will continue to be heard.