One week notice only. Reem, who works for a large Qatari company, was asked to leave her apartment on Pearl Island in Doha, its owner having decided to rent it at a high price during the 2022 World Cup. many residents of Qatar have found themselves in this situation in recent months when their landlord refused to renew their lease. Others had to choose between paying more for one or two years and looking for less elsewhere.
“We felt humiliated. We had to move (…) to a hotel with all our things in bags and boxes”, says Reem, a thirty-year-old who has lived in Doha for four years and has only agreed to disclose her first name. Like dozens of his colleagues, his company had found him an apartment in a tower two years ago. Recently, his management informed them that the landlord did not wish to renew their leases and that they had a week to vacate apartments. “reserved (…) during the World Cup” from November 20 to December 18.
“Rents went up last month”also notes Nabil Ghorra, a 59-year-old Lebanese-American also residing on the Pearl Island. “I feel like people are trying to take advantage of the situation”.
“Most of the owners are Qataris who want to take advantage of the (World Cup) period, so they are ruthless”, says a manager of a real estate company, asking to remain anonymous. According to him, Doha is currently experiencing an average rent increase of around 10% (the percentage allowed by law) but some landlords are increasing prices. “crazy way”. Anum Hassan, head of research for the international consultancy Valustrat Group in Qatar, believes that “Rents have increased by 40% on average over one year in certain areas”.
This phenomenon also affects the supporters who will come to the rich gas emirate to attend the first World Cup in the Arab world. On the booking.com site, apartments in the tower in which Reem lived are rented for 1,700 euros per night for a minimum of 14 days (i.e. 24,000 euros in total), while his rent was 2,500 euros per month.
On Airbnb, apartments for two people are rented for an average of 2,500 euros per night and 77,000 euros for the month. The minimum monthly rent for a villa is around 13,000 euros, but prices can go up to several hundred thousand euros.
Qatar, a small country with limited accommodation capacity, hopes to welcome more than a million visitors during the World Cup. Some will go back and forth from neighboring countries for a day. To accommodate the others, the organizers have set up a platform, with controlled prices, for 130,000 accommodations in hotels, cruise ships, apartments, prefabs and tents. Outside this framework, the owners are free to set their prices, but the recent marketing of thousands of hotel rooms (reserved by the organizers but ultimately cancelled) could bring prices down.
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World Cup 2022: in Qatar, tenants and fans pay the price of soaring rents