Most people in Qatar, or should I say expats, prefer to rent rather than buy property even though Qatar has opened up parts of its housing properties to buy. This may be because of the high prices or because they aren’t sure whether they’re going to be in Qatar long enough to want to invest in a property here.
Whatever the reason, we want to make it easier for you to rent a stand-alone villa, villa in a compound, or an apartment.
So, we’re going to equip you with the leasing/rent laws in Qatar and give you some great tips to keep in mind when you rent or end the rent.
According to a research, the average person in Qatar spends at least 1/3 of their income on rent, and this indicates that housing can be an expensive proposition in Qatar. However, since the cost of utilities like gas, electricity and water is low in Qatar, it kind of balances out – at least to an extent!
Accommodation in Qatar can be unfurnished, semi-furnished or fully-furnished, and depends on what your needs and wants are.
In an unfurnished apartment/villa, you would need to buy everything yourself to fill it up.
In a semi-furnished apartment/villa, there may be curtains, carpets and white items which may include air conditioners, fridge, washing machine and a TV.
In a fully-furnished apartment/villa, most of the furniture and amenities will be part of the deal, and you may even have cutlery and tableware.
Now, that you’ve decided what type of accommodation you want, let’s discuss the housing options:
Qatar has different housing options to cater to your budget and needs:
Serviced apartments are great for short-term stay and are available for a few days, a few weeks or a few months and many people opt for them when they come to Qatar for the first few months while they find themselves housing that they like and is within their budget. They are furnished and have housekeeping. They may or may not come with room service.
Apartments may come in 1, 2, 3 or 4 bedrooms. Many of the newer buildings now come equipped with a gym, a lobby area and, if you’re lucky, there may be a pool as well.
A compound is like a mini-community and the villas may be single storey, but most are double storey. Within the four walls of the compound, you can find some or all of the following: a play area for the children, a gym, a swimming pool, a supermarket and a community club. It’s great if you have children as they can play safely outside and most compounds are gated with security guards manning the gates.
Stand-alone villas are usually more expensive than villas in compounds. They are more spacious and bigger and may come with a nice garden. You’ll be secluded from the rest of the world as the villa will be walled with an entrance and a driveway. If you’re lucky, there may even be a swimming pool in your backyard!
Note: If you are planning on opting for a furnished accomodation, do keep in mind that it may be at least QR 1,000 more than an unfurnished one, so cost-wise, it may be cheaper to opt for an unfurnished one and buy the furniture yourself as it will work out cheaper in the long run.
You can find a number of licensed estate agents in Qatar online which have divided their accommodation listings based on price, location, number of bedrooms, type of accommodation and so on. When you find something you like, you can e-mail them or call them and go check out the properties.
Keep in mind that if you rent a place through an agent, you will be charged a fee by them.
For more information on how to rent from a licensed estate agent
If you go through the Classified section of the different newspapers in Qatar, you will also find listings of available accommodation in different parts of Doha and even other areas of Qatar listed by estate agents and owners. Give them a call, and check out the properties.
Another option is to check out I Love Qatar’s classified page for some great listings.
Sometimes, as you’re driving by a residential area in Qatar, you may see a ‘for rent’ sign with a telephone number on a property. Give them a call and go see the property. Maybe that’ll be your next accommodation.
So, you’ve found something you liked. Now what?
Let's discuss the rental process in detail, to ensure you have all the information necessary to rent a place in Qatar.
Note: You have to be married to rent accommodation as a family/couple. Qatar is an Islamic country and it’s against the law to live together unless married.
The most important thing to have before you rent a place is to have all the documentation needed:
The tenancy contract will be in Arabic and you will be provided with a translated English copy. Maybe it would be a good idea to have the translation checked to ensure something important hasn't been omitted or lost in translation.
Note: If there is any dispute, the tenancy contract in Arabic will have legal binding, and not the English translation!
Rent contracts are usually yearly and you should go through them carefully, so you don’t miss anything, like the do’s and don’ts of the property, rights of the landlord, etc. Make sure you completely understand all the clauses so there aren’t any complications later on.
The property owner usually requires post-dated cheques from you that cover the entirety of the contract you have signed. This is a norm, and something most of us have had to do.
The property owner will ask you to pay a security deposit which can be anything between one month's rent to two month's rent to cover any damages the property may incur while you are a tenant. Whenever you leave the property, the security deposit will be returned to you after the landlord ensures the utility bills are cleared and any damages paid off, after making a deductible (if required).
Once you've completed all the formalities, signed on the dotted line, and handed the property owner the post-dated cheques, you should be ready to move in to your new place, and enjoy your new home.
Whenever you decide to leave your current accommodation, you'll need to get your security deposit back. This can be quite a hassle, especially since the landlord will check every itsy bitsy damage to ensure they don't have to give your deposit back or try to keep as much as the can.
Here are some tips to ensure that if, and when, you do decide to move out, you get most, if not all, of your security deposit back:
The constitution related to renting is highly strict in terms of contracts that the lessor and the lessee undertake. Both parties should be protected equally in accordance with the laws as clearly stated in Article 3 (Part 1) of the Property Leasing Law:
When everything is set and done, the authentication of various documents, the legality of the property and contracts, then you should also aware of the rights and duties of both the lessor and the lessee. To make it simple and easy to understand, we breakdown the articles 4-14 stated under Law No. (4) of 2008 Regarding Property Leasing. Check this out and know your role.
1) The lessor shall turn over to the lessee the leased premises or the house in the condition for which it is intended for (renting), in accordance with the terms and conditions agreed upon in the contract.
2) It is the responsibility of the lessor to maintain the leased premises in a fit and usable condition. If the lessee reported something to be repaired and the lessor failed to act upon it, the lessee has the right to obtain permission from The Committee for Settlement of Rental Disputes to carry out and repair it by himself at his own expense and deduct the cost from his rental payment.
3) The right of the lessee to revoke the lease, reduce the rental payments, cease paying the rent, or extend the tenancy, shall be deemed to be waived if such lessee, without reasonable excuse, occupies the leased premises for thirty days from the date that such maintenance works are undertaken without resorting to the Committee.
4) The lessor can not charge the lessee for more than two months in rent for a security deposit.
5) The lessee is responsible for maintaining the leased premises but is not allowed to change or repair anything without written consent from the lessor. If the lessee failed to ask the consent, the lessor may request the lessee to return everything in its original condition.
6) The lessee should pay all water, electricity, telephone charges and any other charges from the start of turnover unless otherwise agreed.
7) The lessor can not increase rent due under leases already in force or concluded from the date of the implementation of the present Law, except in accordance with rules, terms, and rates determined by a decree issued by the Council of Ministers upon a proposal from the Minister.
8) The lessee by law should pay the rent on time and not later than seven days from the due date. If the lessor refuses to provide an official receipt of payment, the lessee within seven days can notify the lessor by a registered letter that the payment should be received in seven days. Failure of the lessor to do so, the lessee should deposit the payment to the Treasury Committee as soon as possible.
9) The existing lease shall form part of the title of a new owner even if such a lease is not specifically dated on a date preceding the conveyance of such title unless it is proven that the lease is null or void.
10) A new owner shall, by registered letter, notify the lessee and the Office of the conveyance within thirty days starting from the day following the date of registration of title under the new owner’s name, and a copy of the title deed shall be enclosed with the notification or any document to the same effect.
11) The lessee may not sub-let or assign all or part of the lease to third parties, except with the written consent of the lessor.
The lease shall be terminated immediately at the end of every contract as specified during the signing. Just in case the lessee decides to continue or extend the contract and the lessor expresses no objection, the contract will be renewed for a similar term under the same terms and conditions.
However, in other instances, the lease shall not be terminated by the death of one of the parties to the lease. But if the heirs of the lessee decide to terminate the contract, the law allows them to do so. In addition to the death of the lessee, if in case the immediate family want to continue the lease, they shall assume all the lessee's rights and duties. If on the other hand, the lessee sells all the rights from the lease of the premises, then all the rights and duties shall be transferred to the purchaser..
No, flat sharing is illegal in Qatar. Even if you meet someone who wants to share their apartment with you, do not accept. Chances are the landlord doesn’t know about it and it’s just not worth the risk.
Partitioned in villas is strictly against the law in Qatar, so never opt for one, because even though they are illegal, some landlords still try to rent them off.
If you wish to leave your current accommodation before the end of the contract, you must give two months notice and you will probably have to pay a penalty. This may be two months rent or even the remainder of your contract rent.
At the end of the year, if you wish to move out, you must give two month's notice to the property owner. Your security deposit will be returned to you after all utility bills are paid and any damages to the property paid for.
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