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Sunday, October 24, 2021

Retail rent in Qatar frozen for another year

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

As part of efforts to control inflation, Qatar’s Emir has passed legislation that will freeze rent on some properties for the third year in a row.

Late last week, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani ratified a Cabinet decision that automatically grants a one-year lease extension to non-residential tenants who don’t plan to move.

Residential units, agricultural land, industrial properties and hotels are not covered by the law, which comes into effect after similar measures passed in mid-February 2014 and 2015.

The Emir’s decision also come two months after Qatar’s influential Advisory (Shura) Council called for curbs on both commercial and residential rents.

Helping small shops

Johnny Archer, an associate director at real estate firm DTZ Qatar, told Doha News that the decision would primarily affect smaller shops, as many large office tenants have multi-year leases not covered by the legislative move.

By contrast, small retail businesses are more likely to have year-to-year tenancy agreements and lack access to real estate or legal experts to help them negotiate with landlords, he said.

“This will be a positive (development) for a lot of (tenants) in the market,” Archer said.

Shop owners been complaining about high rental increases for several years. Anecdotally, some have reportedly said that they’ve been hit with hikes of up to 100 percent.

At the same time, many small-scale retail properties – including Souq Ahmed, behind the Fanar Cultural Center – in central areas of Doha have been demolished for redevelopments.

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