Real estate and property law experts yesterday advised non-Qatari investors in the sector “to choose projects location carefully, seek legal advice and put in place suitable funding”.
They were speaking during a one-day seminar, titled Rough Guide to Qatar Real Estate, organised by Denton Wilde Sapte and Company, an international law firm which has over 150 lawyers working across the GCC and over 750 lawyers spread across its global offices.
The firm also has over 20 qualified lawyers trained in the UK, the US and Qatar, working from its Doha office who are practising in all areas of local and international law.
In three different presentations, speakers from the firm, senior associate Melissa Soh-Newstead, associate Louise Capon and senior associate Julie Tuck dwelt extensively on procedures of land acquisition and ownership restrictions in Qatar, ownership of foreign investment on The Pearl and construction issues and risks involved.
“The first thing buyers or developers have to consider as non-Qatari investors in real estate in this country is the location, because there are a number of restrictions on land interest and ownership under the Qatari laws,” Soh-Newstead said.
She mentioned that, before 2004, Qatari laws prohibited foreigners from owning land or property in the country. After 2004, some new laws have made that possible.
“Three different types of land interest have been made available freely to foreigners under the laws, which are freehold (absolute rights and control), usufruct right (right to use and enjoy land and to transfer land to another party) and lease (contractual and not real right).
However, she said that certain restrictions are still applicable to foreign land owners in Qatar, despite the amendments in the laws.
Soh-Newstead offered a few solutions to the restrictions as regards direct land ownership, saying that non-Qataris may apply for an Emir’s consent based on the intended use of the land, which she said could be for public interest or for good benefits.
“Other GCC nationalities may also seek the consent of the council commission’s chairman and they could also make use of synthetic commission, which is in use in the UAE,” she said.
The other two speakers also gave useful hints on investing in The Pearl and how to avoid construction risks.
Speaking to Gulf Times at the end of the seminar, Denton Wilde Sapte and company’s partner Martin D Brown, who was the moderator of the event said the seminar was organised to reinforce the fact that Qatar is still viable for investments despite the economic downturn affecting the UAE and the rest of the world.
“The message we wanted to get across is that when one looks at other jurisdictions, both globally and regionally, we believe that the current economic environment in Qatar is comparatively very positive despite the recent and predicted slowdown in growth,” he said.
“We also wanted to make potential investors aware of some of the issues they need to be aware of when taking advantage of the real estate opportunities Qatar has to offer. We believe that for those investors looking at the medium and long term, the real estate market in Qatar offers good opportunities
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