The Lease Agreement
Understand what to expect from the tenancy agreement when renting property in Qatar...
Rental contracts are signed between the landlord and either the tenant or the individual’s employer. The advantage of the tenant’s employer dealing with the contract is that the employer should also take up any problems with the landlord on the employee’s behalf.
Rental agreements are generally made for one year, and can then be extended for another 12 months, provided both parties agree on the rental price. A new rental law instituted in 2008 prevents landlords from increasing the rent for properties already rented to tenants. Although contracts are usually drawn up for 12 months, a one or two month notice period from the tenant is often built into the agreement. However, this is accompanied by clauses that require a penalty fee or full rental payment for early termination in most circumstances.
By law, a landlord must give six months’ notice to a sitting tenant. Subletting is generally prohibited, unless specifically agreed with a landlord.
Rental contracts should confirm:
- Rental fee and its payment
- Any terms relating to a deposit
- Duration of the contract, including the start date and finish date
- Any notice periods and related conditions
- Any liabilities of the landlord (such as whether utility bills are covered, and what maintenance problems the landlord will take responsibility for)
- Any limitations on the tenant (such as the prohibition of pets or smoking, and noise restrictions)
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
- Alternatively, a company may rent a property on behalf of an employee
The contract should be written in English as well as Arabic, and a translation should be requested if the landlord presents the contract agreement only in Arabic. Be aware though that in legal disputes, the Arabic contract is regarded as the only binding document.
Security deposits of about one month’s rent are standard. These should be fully refundable, provided there is no significant damage caused and the tenant has paid the full rent for the duration of the lease. Deposits can often be a source of conflict, so it is important that any conditions of refund are noted in the 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 also appear in the contract.
Furnished apartments should come with an inventory, which should be verified as accurate by the tenant before signing the agreement.
Post-dated cheques to pay the rent (usually either quarterly or monthly) are permitted.
Although year-long contracts are the norm, some serviced or hotel apartments offer short-term tenancies ranging from a few weeks to a few months. Hotel websites, estate agents and classifieds are the best places to find short-term let offers.