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Monday, April 19, 2021

Seven years on, Lusail investors still waiting for apartments

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Lusail

In 2007, dozens of expats jumped at the chance of investing in an upcoming manmade city off of the coast of Qatar, which was being developed by the Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company.

Drawn by the rare chance to buy residential property in the Gulf state, many put down deposits on apartments in an area that Dubai-based developer Damac Properties was involved in: The Piazza, in the residential area of Fox Hills.

Original artist's impression of The Piazza
Original artist's impression of The Piazza

Now, seven years later, most of the investors have paid off all but the final 20 percent of the property’s worth.

But promised deadlines for finishing the apartments have come and gone several times, and these residents still don’t have the keys to their new flats.

Speaking to Doha News, Saad Hussain Ali, an Irish engineer who has paid some QR1.6 million so far for two flats in Fox Hills that were supposed to be ready in 2010, said:

“I am getting concerned. I have just celebrated my 60th birthday. We are trying to think of retirement. This money was our pension, but it has just gone into a black hole.

It has taken nearly eight years. I just want someone to give me a straight answer – when will our properties be properly ready – when will they be finished and when can we have the deeds and the keys to them.”

Meanwhile, other developers are announcing the launch of impressive new schemes at Lusail this year, prompting investors like Ali to worry their plight will be forgotten in all the excitement.

The Piazza

As per Damac’s website, the Piazza was initially marketed as a development of 14 buildings that would provide a “high quality living environment by combining well-planned residential, commercial, hospitality, mixed-use and entertainment districts, balanced with open spaces and parks.”

Damac - The Piazza 1

According to investors, Damac is now claiming that the properties – which have been scaled down to include eight buildings – are complete and is demanding the final payments.

During a recent visit to the site, Doha News observed that while several apartment blocks have been erected, the style and finish of the buildings did not quite match up to that promised in the original marketing material.

The complex still resembles a building site with hoardings around the perimeter, scattered construction waste and heavy machinery standing nearby.

Aside from an completed road network, the supposedly exclusive environment of Fox Hills is presently nothing more than empty stony desert dotted with huge spoil heaps.

The Piazza is the only obvious development in what otherwise resembles a moonscape.

When asked for comment, the Qatari Diar referred all questions to Damac. Despite three weeks of repeated requests, the developer has not responded to Doha News’ questions.

Meanwhile, investors like Leon (not his real name) are still trying to figure out how to proceed. The Qatar resident told Doha News that he spent all of his savings on a deposit, and then took out a mortgage to cover the rest of the payments for the apartment.

He said:

 “I feel humiliated by the whole experience. None of us who bought into this scheme is a big-time investor. We are just little people who worked hard here and saved our money. We are citizens of Qatar and wanted to put our money back into the country to help it develop.

I just want an answer from Damac now. When will my apartment be finished and when can I get in?”

As he looked around the empty ground surrounding his flat, Leon added: “Although even when I get it, I am not sure what I am going to do with it. How can I rent it out? There is nothing else here. Who would want to move here?”

A prolific developer in the UAE, Damac is also responsible for the Burj Damac Marina – a 20 story luxury hotel apartment tower in the heart of Lusail marina.

More developments

As the Piazza saga continues, Qatari real estate developer Barwa announced this week plans to sell property at its own development in Fox Hills – Dara.

The 176,000sqm residential-led scheme is slated to have 56 buildings with more than 1,000 apartments.

Work is expected to start in less than two months, with apartments selling for prices between QR10,000 and QR12,000 per sqm, depending on the associated facilities, the Gulf Times reported.

At the same time, United Developers has unveiled details of its QR5billion Place Vendome “luxury, lifestyle and leisure destination,” also planned for Lusail. It is set to comprise up to 400 shops, two five-star hotels, serviced apartments and entertainment facilities.

Thoughts?

57 COMMENTS

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Mohammed Albanai
Mohammed Albanai
6 years ago

not a wise investment at this point to say the least

Sher
Sher
6 years ago

You are right Mohammed! Is it not way past time to put a stop to this sort of reckless developer being allowed to do business in Qatar? Did Damac not cancel a huge multi billion dollar project project in India years ago and tell the Indian government they would be back when the government produces “developer friendly laws”?Were they not thrown out of Tazakstan and Iraq years ago for not starting projects on time? look at their track record on their own website, thousands and thousands of units are not cancelled or put on hold but just ‘delayed’ ….for years! should they be allowed tarnish Qatars reputation? Time for the government to step in?

Doc
Doc
6 years ago

I would rather wipe my bottom with QR500 notes than invest in Middle Eastern properties.

Sher
Sher
6 years ago
Reply to  Doc

‘Wiping bottoms’ might be a bit of a sore point on this matter but I think it appears you might have a point there.

Paul
Paul
6 years ago

It’s not so much the law on ownership (for expats) that’s the problem; it’s mainly that nobody even seems to be able to tell you (let alone show) what it beholds (even real-estate agents or developers don’t seem to know..) This, along with many other factors still outweighs a possible double return on investment. Conclusion; everyone saves it all and money flows out of the country.

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago

If it was not backed by the state of Qatar and done by a renowned developer (at least in the GCC), I would have said it is a dodgy scheme. In any part of the world, failing to deliver on time makes you pay penalties or at least give discounts. That they ask for the remaining 20% is just infuriating, and it shows how little respect Damac has for its clients.
Now the only solution is for the government to step in and put some pressure on Damac. It does not make sense to let people wait or to ask them to sue Damac, thus wasting more money and time.

reddevil
reddevil
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Even if the apartment is completed,infrastructures arent ready yet.works are ongoing for the roads,utilities etc in Lusail,which wont be completed atleast by 2018.Its deserted land for now,you cant live here till the utilities and infrastructures are ready.

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

whose government, Doha or Dubai? doha can’t help you out for your poor investment decisions….

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

It is Qatar’s duty to make sure companies working here abide by the local Qatari rules. It is also Qatar’s duty to defend its citizens wellbeing on its land, and to provide them with assistance when needed.

I am not sure if failure to deliver on time can be considered a breach of contract here, but it is Qatar and only Qatar that can decide whether Damac is not meeting its commitments and whther it should be sanctioned or not?

So forget about Dubai mate! It is all about Qatar in this case 🙂

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

it is not a breach of contract if the contract itself allows for the developer open ended delays as long as they do not demand for the final payment till the deed for the property is ready to be handed over..

Sher
Sher
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Was this guy was thrown out of poor Iraq and Tajikistan by their Governments for not starting projects on time? Was he not given a jail sentence in Egypt? Did Damac not cancel multi billion dollar projects in India and say “We will be back when the Indian government allows developer friendly laws”? Can Qatar not protect people as these governments have done?

Sher
Sher
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Did UDC not have proclamations that it was ‘the vision of HH the Emir of Qatar’ posted all over their website in 2005-2007?

Masboro
Masboro
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Many people who bought property in Spain found themselves in the same position with the developers going out of business and no way of reclaiming their money. It isn’t just an issue related to Qatar.

Sher
Sher
6 years ago
Reply to  Masboro

This guy is different, he has billions! But does he know how to ‘flip it’ to keep the punters at bay? -It appears so!

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago

Looks great -_-

Saffa
Saffa
6 years ago
Reply to  thedrizzle96

When does reality ever measure up to marketing and promotional materials. They always couch it in the small print with “Artists IMPRESSION”….

Bornrich
Bornrich
6 years ago

Why is everyone being so negative about Lusail, the City of the Future? It represents a fabulous investment for your grandchildren’s grandchildren.

Sher
Sher
6 years ago
Reply to  Bornrich

Or your grand childeren’s grand childeren’s -childeren’s childeren’s childeren?

Doha Hack
Doha Hack
6 years ago

This story underpins yet again, the need to have a watertight contract with these developers that holds them to a particular delivery date, with penalties for not handing over on time. And a legal system that supports purchasers, and does not always fall on the side of these apparently unscrupulous developers. Time will tell, but this form of behavior should not go unchecked by any reasonable, responsible government. A clear sign of a strong legal system is the ability for a weaker party in a deal to hold the stronger party to account for something that they have agreed to, particularly if the weaker party has relied on that agreement to their detriment – something that is currently impossible in Qatar…

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  Doha Hack

im sorry i have to fully heartily disagree with you… i never ever ever
faced the problems you mention… and when I do I take the developer to
court… and my contracts for property have provisions for penalty
when the developer is late.. penalties with interest… sometimes both parties
even put up bank credit notes to keep each other honest… you know why…
cause some investors think… unlike many local and expats who are in for a
quick buck and fall in for the half -a$$ sales pitch of the greased up realtors
….

if you put your money on the promise of reclaimed land and fortune doubling
overnight… and signing a contract without reading the fine print.. that’s
your problem… the contracts for UDC and several barwa projects have provisions
which gives the developer a lot of ley way in project delays… you can’t blame
the govt .. you signed the papers not the govt…

Doha Hack
Doha Hack
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

It’s good to hear that you have not had bad experiences, and I of course defer to your personal knowledge on this, but it is also perhaps clear that hundreds of others have not been so lucky. The government has a role to play by regulating contracts in this sector in furtherance of its role as protector of the integrity of the industry and the economy as a whole, and protecting consumers. If they don’t, there is a significant risk of continued abuse.

David
David
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

So you disagree with the premise that there should be a strong judicial system in place that represents fairly the interests of all? The judicial system should be accessible to all and deal fairly with all parties whether a small time investor or a big time developer. There is nothing wrong with wanting to own your home or property. If they are going to sell these properties to citizens and non-citizens there needs to be fair legal recourse for all involved. Unless you advocate for all of the wealth to be concentrated in the hands of just a few so that the vast majority are forced to pay rent to someone else for their entire life.

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  David

Again I beg to differ, as slow as the judicial system is, it’s quiet responsive especially in light of a strong contract and strong lawyers. However the courts can do very little if people choose to ignore the fine print and sign off their pension. We have a saying in Arabic, “القانون لا يحمي المغفلين” .. the law does not protect idiots! What I’m saying a lot of contracts for the pearl and Lusail have provisions which allow the developers ley way in project delays as long as future owners don’t pay the final installment.. This they are legally and contractually protected… If you have reviewed the contract and agreed to the right terms but was screwed contact me and I will point you to the right legal offices who will get you your rights…

As for your second statement.. That’s typical expat thinking and I don’t know how you drew that convulsion from what I’m saying

Rapha31
Rapha31
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

“The law does not protect idiots”. Is that what the Judges say to laborers cheated by their employers? BTW, in my part of planet Earth, the law protects all, including idiot human beings.

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  Rapha31

which part of the world are you from? the west? please do tell I’m happy to dig in several cases in how banks screwed ppl through student loans, mortgages, mutual fund.. simply,
institutionalized con artist who get away clean because their millions can buy them the right lawyers who protect them…

and if you heard of a judge in qatar say such things to laborers then please do tell me what his name is…

i’m happy to have an intelligent debate with you and point out to you in any legal system if you are and able bodied and mindful person your are liable for the contract you sign…

seriously im interest to learn how your part of the world legal system works…

Sher
Sher
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

To answer your question A_qtr , In theory our part of the world legal system works by the values of precedent, fairness and (in theory, sometimes in practice) even a lowly laborer is equal and has rights! thats even if he cant afford 70,000 to take his employer to court. He’s here in the first place so many miles away from his family because we (in the rest of the world) are so corrupt we won’t help them to buy a pot of rice and we prefer to spend the money on bribes and weapons of war instead. An pota ghlaoch ar an citeal dubh?

Sher
Sher
6 years ago
Reply to  Sher

My point is A_qtr that no Legal system is really fair. Only people are fair, or not….but should a legal system aspire to be just, or is that just being hypocritical?

Sher
Sher
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Seah, labhairt i do theanga féin mar sin ní gá na amadáin a thuiscint cad tá tú ag rá

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  Sher

cad é an ifreann a chiallaíonn?? google leanbh

Sher
Sher
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Well said A-qtr! That one is always open to interpretation depending on ones dialect but my interpretation would be that it means they were well and truly ripped off!

Sher
Sher
6 years ago
Reply to  Sher

No offense intended, A-qtr, wish you were around 7 years ago when this apparently elaborate conspiracy was being formulated.

Saffa
Saffa
6 years ago
Reply to  David

No, what he is saying is don’t sign a contract without full knowledge of the consequences. This is the same for any country in the world.

I hear often of people who have been taken advantage of through their own greed and short-sightedness. The old adage “A fool and his money are easily parted” comes to mind.

Contracts have a legal basis, and the onus is on the second party to understand that basis and the clauses included by the first contractual party. If you don’t like it, don’t sign it. Also, don’t be pressured into signing it. If there is pressure to sign, there is a fishy odour attached!

Laws should be simple for the “common man”, a plethora of law does not make Justice more fair.

Piazza Lusail
Piazza Lusail
5 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

kindly join our group as there are many things that we all have to share and discuss
together. The sooner we do the sooner we find solutions I think..

https://www.facebook.com/groups/907766069287528/

Expat
Expat
6 years ago

The general feeling is that all these developers are trying to sell Qatar as a “luxury” destination. Seriously, how many times was “luxury” mentioned in the names and descriptions of the developments? Only a few days ago there was an article about the hugely empty Pearl! When will they learn that Qatar is no UAE!

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  Expat

Therein lies the problem. Qatar wants to be Dubai so bad but neither are they developed enough as a country, nor in their culture, to be a Dubai yet.

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

does doha want to be dubai.. honestly no one in doha wants to be dubai.. not the govt or the ppl.. its just the expats who cry out wanting doha to be dubai..

Expat
Expat
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

But the direction everything is heading seems to be Dubai-esque. The problem is that all these developers are advertising “luxury” property for customers that do not exist. They realize that late on and hence the downscaling if not aborting of various development projects.

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  Expat

you mean building malls and high ways and a metro system?
these properties aren’t luxerious at all.. at best they’re slightly above average.. they demand a premiium because they are either freehold or lease hold… where property outside lusial and pearl are not available for western expat purchase…

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

OK, If you say so.

Saffa
Saffa
6 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

He’s right… The Q2030 Vision is not to make this place Dubai-West, but I’m still wondering what else there is to build their future on? As I understand it, part of Q2030 is to make this country the premier business, science and conference venue in the Gulf, but with no real tourism industry or “playground” to go with, I don’t see that being realised? Maybe I’ve got it wrong.

I also think that there isn’t the necessary unity of vision that is needed amongst all the various players.

my 2dhr :S

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago

They should all sue…what am I saying, that would go about nowhere.

By the time they get in the buildings they’ll be falling down. I live in an Alfardan compound that was very nice and brand new 8 yrs ago. Now huge cracks in the walls, balcony had to be removed because it was falling off the wall, among other things and generally the workmanship and climate don’t make for any longevity.

Turbohampster
Turbohampster
6 years ago

I do feel sorry for the these people, but In my opinion you would have to be absolutely insane to invest in property in Qatar.

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  Turbohampster

like i said above.. if you are a smart investor and know what you are doing, the return on new build property can at times be well above 10% annually.. if you have no clue what you are doing.. then best to keep your money in the bank…

Sher
Sher
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Thats a very good point, A-qtr, …..Or put your money where the laws protect you. Buyer beware!

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Turbohampster

Unless you are Qatari is the only caveat I would have. Like the campaign, you are one of us, that is plainly not true as we are told daily. We are here to work and when your job is done you go home

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago

people should have been smarter than to put their money into a dubai property developer selling your dream in doha on land that was nothing more than desert…

Saad Hussain O’Ali you are now a wiser invester..

Sher
Sher
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

And much, much older too, In fact very, very old…..

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

I’m shocked, what next FIFA described as a model of corporate governance and transparency, Pope in catholic confession and bear lost in woods does the unthinkable….
Some greedy people, preyed on by dodgy builders, selling a dream that doesn’t exist for a price that is unbelievable. Happens the world over.

Does anyone want to send me their bank details, I have 5 million Riyals I’d like to transfer to them…..

Sher
Sher
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

What did the lost bear do with the popes robes in the woods? ….unthinkable? -interesting observation but perhaps a little beside the point?

Sher
Sher
6 years ago
Reply to  Sher

Send me your bank details and I’ll organize the transfer now I’m older and wiser. You first!

Dismanirie
Dismanirie
6 years ago

It is no surprise to read that Damac did not respond to the requests for a statement from the reporter. The only communications Damac is programmed to issue are payment demands from their collections department. It may be true that investors were too trusting to accept Damac’s boilerplate sale agreement, which gave no completion date. Qatari Diar handed over the land only in June 2011, so have until the end of 2014 to deliver the completed properties. My question is how did Damac use Piazza investors funds between 2006 when they started selling “the nightmare” and 2011 when they received the land from QD? They have already been taken to court successfully by one investor, but without any precedence in the Qatari legal system, no guarantee can be given that other suits will have the same outcome.

Sher
Sher
6 years ago

A national disgrace! Who will invest in Qatar when they hear these stories?

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Comments disappearing all the time…..

Bob
Bob
6 years ago

10,000 QR per sqm in the desert of Lusail???? That’s €2,000 and for that price you can also get property in Berlin, a city with green parks, great restaurants instead of franchises, and much more… What a rip off. Bent I guess as long as people keep buying into it, then they will keep doing it.

Bob
Bob
6 years ago

And by the way, the head of Damac in the UAE is an absolute criminal and was at some stage banned from leaving the UAE, even though he’s a national due to all the criminal cases against him… Do your research before you invest millions. It’s not a shirt or TV you are buying.

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago

I fail to understand how anything other than a commercial business could invest in property in Qatar. The laws can change on a whim, the judiciary is unreliable, and lets not mention the standard of building, plus conservative Doha will never be a destination no matter what it does , A small private investor is a fly to be squashed.

Piazza Lusail
Piazza Lusail
5 years ago

Hello all,

If you invest in this project, kindly join our group as there are many things that we all have to share and discuss together. The sooner we do the sooner we find solutions I think..

https://www.facebook.com/groups/907766069287528/

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