Skyrocketing rents tops residents’ concerns in Doha
Qatar has been a destination of choice for many expatriates seeking better opportunities, earnings and savings, especially since the country won the bid to host the FIFA 2022 World Cup. A heavy influx of migrants to the country has led to inflation, especially in terms of house rents. However, there’s little or no change in salaries, complain expatriates.
“I have been here for the past 8 years, when I calculate how much I have paid for my flat in total as rent, I get terrified,” says a Lebanese engineer who requested anonymity. “I could have bought the best house in Lebanon with this amount. It keeps going up. One can’t accommodate all these increments while the income is not keeping the same pace.”
According to the Consumer Price Index for March 2014, released by the Ministry of Development Planning & Statistics (MDPS), the index is estimated at 116.6 – an increase of 0.3% compared to the CPI of February 2014, and 2.6% compared to the CPI of March 2013.
The jump from last year has been attributed to many factors, “Rentals, Fuel & Energy” being the highest with an increase of 5.7%. From this, rentals of residential buildings were a prime factor, the report states.
While private companies in Doha provide housing allowance for their employees, the difference between the allowance and the actual rent is a lot, and the difference keeps increasing, according to those interviewed by JustHere. In 2008, Qatar introduced a rental law that set a 10-percent limit on rent increases for tenants renewing their contracts..
This was designed to restrict rapid inflation of rental prices, yet this restriction ended in 2010 causing the situation to aggravate.
As a result, many have already moved out or are considering moving out of Doha to neighboring towns, and a few out of the country itself.
“We live in Ain Khaled Gate compound where the rent has increased 25-30% in 2014 itself. My husband and I can’t afford that because our salaries are the same, so we are currently looking for another flat. But it is difficult to find a good accommodation here. It can take months,” says Fatima Awada, a Lebanese expatriate who has been living in Doha for the past 6 years.
No value for money
Despite the high prices, more often than not people do not even get the quality they desire. “If you want to live in nice flat you have to pay at least QR12,000-QR13,000 for a 2 bedroom flat in a decent compound or in the Zig Zag Towers. We were living in the Zig Zag towers and had to move out because the rent was increasing. We felt that we were paying too much money just on an apartment and we have so many other expenses. There is so much demand for housing and I believe landlords are abusing it,” says Nadeen Sharaff, an Egyptian who was brought up in Doha.
The case is more severe with commercial buildings. Many small businesses are forced to shut down, unable to bear the rising burden of rents.
“Landlords want to make more money so they are just exploiting the situation of short supply and high demand. It is becoming more challenging day after day to make a profit with these high rents. If landlords continue to behave like this, Qatar will lose some talented people who wish to stay here but can hardly afford the increasing life expenses,” says a store owner in Al Sadd who requested anonymity.
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