So it’s clear to me that the real estate market in Qatar is messed up. Who agrees with me? No? You think that things are great?; then I shall break it down for you with some examples.
Let’s say you bought a property in Zig Zag towers. You paid well over a million Qatari Riyals because you were promised the best in luxury. You think to yourself, I’m going to be living in an amazing peice of architecture, instead, all you get is what can only be described as a wonky building.
To buy that lovely apartment, you need to take a loan. QNB’s interest rate for me was something like 9.7% (I know I know). At 25 years that’s around 11,000 QR per month. Recently I was offered an amazing deal from Doha bank that would lower my installments by 3k and also shave off 5 years. Nice! Sadly I can’t switch. Qatar’s introduced a new law that doesn’t allow banks to buy off loans… so I’m stuck with QNB. (This law was most probably passed because QNB was losing customers and so needed some good ‘ole wasta).
So I’m stuck with using Qatar Cool. A monopoly since there is no other company other than them that provides this service. They want around 12,000 QR per year so that you can be provided with a service that would otherwise have cost me 50-100QR extra a month (since I still have to pay for water and electricity anyway!) if I just had a split unit. I’m sorry, I really DO care about the environment, but who are we fooling? The carbon emissions are simply being moved to the central cooling facility. We’ve just moved the problem, we haven’t solved it…
So Al Dar, the company that sold ZigZag, took the first year’s ‘maintenance fee’ and did nothing for the tenants. 2 year later, and countless days of fire alarms going off, leaks in the underground parking, filthy marble floors and me staring at a tic-tac-toe game that was scratched into the stainless steel door of one of the elevators, they decided to go ahead and create the tenants committee. What they did was dump all of their dirty laundry with them and didn’t even bother to give them the maintenance fee from the previous year!
The late fee:
According to Al Dar, the late fee is automatically waived if you buy the property from second party. Wait what? So Al Dar was supposed to pay 1,000 QR a month for every month they were late with the development. They didn’t finish the property until a year and a half later (they had 6 months delay allowable), so they had to pay 12,000 QR to me. Nope, I bought that apartment from someone so they automatically got up to THREE YEARS extra time to delay the project. How does Qatar legally allow that? I’ll tell you how, we don’t have a Land Law court. Going to Civil court takes an average of two years here…
The maintenance fee:
So the tenants council mentioned that they were thinking of a way to make the maintenance fee a bit more fair. It’s currently set at 1% of what you bought the property for. I had wanted it to be a fixed price per square meter. It makes logical sense to me that they should first calculate the cost of what was needed for the maintenance and then divide it by the total number of square meters. Nope, they decided that if it’s from below 90 Sqm it’s 11,000 QR, 100-150sqm it’s 14,500 QR, if it’s 151-200sqm it’s 17,500 QR , if it’s 201-250sqm its 19,800 QR and if its 250sqm its 21,000 QR(something like that anyway, if you’ve got the exacts let me know as I cant remember).
How the hell is that fair? Long story short, I’m paying 2,000 QR MORE now for my 147sqm apartment and 10,000 QR more for my 250SQM apartment I bought a while back. I guess to the association I’m paying ‘fairly more’. Their math doesn’t even make sense. The different between a property that’s 250sqm and one that’s larger than that is 1,200 QR, that means 1,200 QR / 50 (sqm) is 24QR per sqm. But the difference between a 93sqm tier and a 100sqm tier is 3,500 QR which means that it’s an extra 70 QR per sqm. That means that the smaller your apartment, the more you pay… Shouldn’t it be set so that we all pay equally per square meter as I had just mentioned?
So now let’s do the math. For a fully furnished and redone apartment like mine that’s 147sqm, on the 21st floor, and facing the lagoon, I could probably get 10-12k (depends really). Let’s say 10k for arguments sake.
I’ve got to pay 11,000 QR a month for the mortgage, 12,000 QR a year for Central cooling, 14,000 QR for a maintenance fee, which means that over 2 months of rent goes straight to fees and even after that all the rent goes straight to the bank. It’s actually BETTER for an owner to just RENT than buy in this country!
If you’re confused by the time you get to the end of this blog post. Good. We all are.
What… the… hell…? Qatar! Help us! Help place rules and regulations in the country to help the real estate sector. Companies like Al Dar are causing foreign investors to lose faith in our market. 🙁