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Renting Property

Qatar - Renting Property


Most expats rent either houses or apartments in this country. Prices have significantly dropped after the global economic downturn and the completion of more housing developments. The most common way to find the accommodation is through real estate agents and local classified advertisements. However, there are some companies that can also provide help to their employees who are seeking a place to live.

There are also some employment contracts that can provide accommodation allowances to assist employees with their rental costs. Rental contracts generally tend to be for one year, and then extended on a 12-month basis. In some cases, individual landlords might want to negotiate different lease lengths with customers. The market for buying property has recently been opened up to expats, but this is still permissible in certain developments only.

Finding a property

There are three main options for finding a property to rent in Qatar:

- Using an estate agent
- Renting privately
- Employee’s company assistance

Using an estate agent

One of the common options is to find an estate agent to search for apartments or villas. While helping with the property search, the agent can often act as a link between the landlord and tenant, meaning they deal with the contract and other administrative matters. They usually do it for a fee of about five percent of the yearly rent, which is payable by the renter.

Renting privately

There are some expats who choose to rent privately, without a help of an agent. Advertisements for private rentals can be found in various places. They are usually in newspaper classifieds and on local forums and websites. This method excludes the agent fee, but it means that the tenant has to deal directly with the landlord. English-language newspapers featuring classifieds for property include the Gulf Times and The Peninsula.

Another option for sourcing accommodation without a help of an agent is to target a specific area, development, apartment block or villa compound and get the information through the management or residents about any upcoming vacancies.

Employee’s company assistance

Another good option for finding accommodation is through an employee’s company. Some bigger companies and institutions like schools that employ large number of foreign employees, offer villa compounds or blocks of accommodation which are available to their staff. These rental properties are generally unfurnished, although there are some newer apartment blocks which may come with modern kitchen fixtures and fittings, and some even come fully furnished. It all depends on the company.

Rental contracts

Rental contracts are generally signed between the landlord and either the tenant or the tenant's employer. The advantage of the tenant’s employer dealing with the contract is that the employer will also take up any problems with the landlord on the employee’s behalf.

Rental agreements are generally made for the period of one year, and can then be extended for another 12 months, provided both parties agree on the rental price. The latest rental law which was instituted in 2008 prevents landlords from increasing the rent for properties that are already rented to tenants.

Even though contracts are usually drawn up for 12 months, a one or two month notice period from the tenant is often included in the agreement. However, in most circumstances, this is accompanied by clauses that require a penalty fee or full rental payment for early termination.

By Qatari law, a landlord must give six months’ notice to a sitting tenant. Subletting is generally prohibited, unless specifically agreed with a landlord.

Rental contracts generally confirm:

- Rental fee and its payment
- Any terms relating to a deposit
- Duration of the contract, which includes the start date and finish date
- Any notice periods and related conditions
- Any liabilities of the landlord. This can include questions such as whether utility bills are covered, and what maintenance problems the landlord will take responsibility for.
- Any limitations on the tenant. This usually includes a potential prohibition of pets or smoking, and noise restrictions.

In order to rent a property, a tenant needs to provide the following documents:

- Residence Permit
- Qatar ID card
- Copy of the sponsor’s ID card when signing the lease

The rental contract should be written in both English and Arabic. If the landlord presents the contract agreement only in Arabic, an agreement translation should be requested. All expats should know that in legal disputes, the Arabic contract is regarded as the only binding document.

Security deposits of about one month’s rent are standard in this country. In general, these should be fully refundable, provided there is no significant damage caused by the tenant and that the tenant has paid the full rent for the duration of the lease. As deposits can often be a source of conflict, it is very important that any conditions of refund are noted in the rental contract.

Liability for maintenance problems and any other expenses, such as whether or not utility bills are the tenant’s or landlord’s responsibility, should be precisely determined by the rental contract. Furnished apartments should come with an inventory, which should be verified by the tenant before signing the agreement. Using post-dated cheques in order to pay the rent are also permitted in Qatar.

Although year-long contracts are the norm in this country, some serviced or hotel apartments offer short-term tenancies ranging from several weeks to a few months. Hotel websites, estate agents and classifieds are the best places to find short-term let offers.

Registering

After the contracts have been signed, the landlord needs to register a copy of the agreement with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs & Agriculture. The landlord must also pay the associated registration fee, which is one percent of the annual rent, and they face a fine if they do not do this within 30 days following the signature of the lease. Any possible disputes between tenant and landlord should be taken to the Rental Dispute Settlement Committee.

Insurance

In Qatar, household insurance is not compulsory for tenants, but is strongly advisable to have it.


Read more about this country



Expat Health Insurance Partners


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