Some 1,500 rent-related disputes have been registered with the Rent Dispute Resolution Committee so far this year, says a prominent lawyer, adding that an estimated 3,500 tenants are paying rents to the court due to dispute with their landlords.
According to Yusuf Al Zaman, a lawyer of repute, the problem is that that some 95 percent of the decisions of the Rent Dispute Resolution Committee go in appeal to the courts.
The committee takes about two months to issue its decision on a dispute and then the verdict is challenged in the court. This becomes a time-consuming affair for a tenant or property owner who is looking for quick justice dispensation, he said in remarks to Al Sharq.
Al Zaman said that although the existing law which was enforced early in 2008 for two years largely seeks to protect the interest of the tenants, there are certain provisions which favor the landlord.
For example, a landlord can simply produce a certificate from utility distributors Kahramaa (Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation) confirming that a certain building is 15 years old.
And then another certificate sought from the municipality by paying a nominal fee of QR100 allowing the building to be demolished is sufficient for the Rent Dispute Resolution Committee to permit a landlord to throw out tenants.
“The Committee does not insist on the landlord to produce the design of the new structure he plans to erect after razing the old building from which tenants are to be vacated. This basically goes against the tenant.”
According to Al Zaman, it should not be made so easy for a residential property owner to throw a tenant out of an apartment or villa by simply telling the authorities concerned that he is razing a building or villa to pave way for a new structure.
He said that many tenants were canceling rent contracts because cheaper houses were now available as supplies had eased.
Commercial properties are still in short supply and a separate law is needed to regulate their tenancy and rentals as is the case in other countries, argues Al Zaman.
The validity of the existing rent law expires on February 14 next year and the legal circles as well as people at large are speculating if a new legislation would be framed and whether it would favor landlords or tenants.
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