Qatar yesterday passed a new rent law that retains most of the provisions of the 2008 legislation except that landlords will now be free to raise rents of residential properties on their whims and fancies.
Conversely, depending on the demand and supply situation, tenants will now be in a position to haggle and insist that landlords reduce the rent.
The new law, however, freezes the rents of shops and other commercial premises for one more year, that is, until February 14, 2011.
The 2010 legislation, nevertheless, specifies some conditions under which the owner of a shop or commercial property can move the authorities concerned to evict a tenant from the premises even when the tenancy agreement is valid.
The law (Number 2 of 2010) was ratified by the Emir, H H Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, yesterday, amending Article 27 of the previous law (Law No. 4 of 2008) in respect of shops and commercial properties.
Article 27 stipulated that all rent contracts (whether residential or commercial) were to remain valid until February 14, 2010.
Its amendment in respect of commercial properties means that while residential rents can now be raised or reduced by the landlords, commercial rents will remain frozen for one more year, until February 14, 2011.
After Qatar News Agency reported that Law No. 2 of 2010 had been passed, the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning issued a clarification giving details of the conditions under which the owner of a shop or commercial property can move to evict a tenant.
If a tenant is not paying rent on time without any valid reason and without the permission of the authorities or has sublet part of a property or in full without the landlord’s written permission, he can be evicted. A tenant can also be evicted if a property is not being used for the purpose for which it was rented out, or if the building in which a rented property is housed is not safe, or the property is over 15 years old and earmarked for demolition. A tenant can also be removed if a shop is located within a residential building and the landlord wants it back for family use. A landlord is required to serve a notice of eviction on a tenant of a shop or other commercial property at least six months in advance, says the new law.
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