Guide to finding accommodation in Qatar
[Photo courtesy: Kireihana via Flickr]
Finding the perfect place to stay is always a task no matter which part of the world you are in. It might be a little more challenging in Qatar. The first thing you will need to do is figure out what your priorities are.
How to decide
The basic things you need to take into consideration while deciding the kind of accommodation most suitable for you are:
- Duration of stay
- Size of family
- Proximity to work and school
The basic options your can choose from are
The large concentration of apartments are in the older neighbourhoods. Many of the old buildings have been renovated in these areas, and newer ones have sprung up. Within the city, these would be the least expensive types of accommodation. They could be stand-alone buildings or compounds, and only a few would provide facilities such as a pool or gym.
These could be rented out directly from the landlord or from real estate agents. Dealing directly with the landlord would be a far simpler and less expensive process.
Duration of stay – Any
Tenants – Single or Family
This is a common choice for expats until they are able to find a suitable house and set it up. Serviced apartments are like living in your own home except management cleans and maintains the place periodically, and it is fully furnished. Though, they can be a lot more expensive than regular apartments, these are usually preferred as short-term residences.
Duration of stay – Short (6 months to 1 year)
Tenants – Single or Family
Villas are independent housing units. While there are stand-alone villas, most are situated within compounds, in the newer neighbourhoods of the city. Usually stand-alone villas are owned by Qatari nationals and are rented out directly by the owner.
They usually have facilities like pool, gym, club house, ample parking etc. The maintenance cost of is usually included in the rent. There are many compounds in and around Doha, and provide a good community feel. Ideal for those with young children.
Duration of stay – Long
Tenants – Family
A luxury development, it covers nearly four million sq. mts. of reclaimed land. It is the first property in Qatar to be available for freehold ownership by foreign nationals. Real Estate visas can now be granted to buyers, allowing them to live in the country without sponsorship.
This multi-use property has residences, retail and dining. Apartment rentals cost QR10,000 upwards.
The main residential property here is the West bay lagoon. Here again, foreigners can invest in property.
Within the development there are smaller compounds complete with top-end facilities.
- Never sign any agreement that you do not fully understand. If you are not an Arabic speaker then ask for the agreement in English.
- You will most likely have to pay commission to your real estate agent which will be anything between 2 to 4 weeks of a month’s rent.
- You will have to pay a month’s rent as security deposit, which is refundable once your contract expires. The contract is usually for a year or two.
- You will also have to pay a deposit for the connection of water and electricity which is refundable. But most of the times, the charges are included in the rent.
- An effective way to find accommodation in an area of your choice is to drive around the area looking for “to let” signs and following up.
There are several villa compounds and a few apartments in this area, which is preferred by many given its proximity to several schools and kindergartens. New malls and a few parks in the vicinity, have made the neighbourhood even more desirable.
This is the commercial and retail centre of Doha, so be prepared for a lot of traffic. However, its central location connects it to many of the arterial roads. There are mainly apartments here, and rents could be as low as QR6,000 for old buildings and go up to QR9,000 for newer ones.
This area is extremely popular with families as it is close to several malls, parks, nurseries and schools. There are a lot of standalone villas as well as compounds in this area. The rent for a villa here could cost you anywhere between QR 12,000 to QR25,000
Wakra is located on the outskirts of Doha. It has many undeveloped beaches which are beautiful. The rents here are lower than in the city, but not by much since new roads make the commute to the city much shorter.
This area has a couple of malls like Landmark and Ezdan Mall as well as some schools such as Doha English Speaking School and the Canadian School. You will find both compounds as well as stand-alone villas in this end of town. To live here in a in an semi-furnished villa would cost about QR18,000 per month.
This area is relatively busy as it is part of older Doha. The cost of real estate here is cheaper in comparison to other areas. Multiple markets and hypermarkets can be found in this area like Family Food Centre, Lulu Hypermarket and others. The rent of a fully furnished 2-3 bedroom apartment would range between QR5,500 to QR7,500
Continued on Page 2