Archive for June, 2011

Are you a new owner in the Pearl? You’ll want to read this.

I thought I might shed some light as to what’s the ‘norm’ when it comes to buying a property and what to do after hand-over.
I’ve recently had the delightful news of having the keys being handed over to me at the Porto Arabia project at The Pearl. I have to admit that I was SHOCKED at the fact that I could hardly find any issues to raise before agreeing to sign the handover form. I’m serious… I did find that one of the sockets was slightly wonky and a bit of paint on one of the tiles but that was it.

For a moment I had thought, wow… they’ve really stepped up their game (side note: different properties have different developers by the way). I was sadly disappointed though when I received an email from the Pearl telling me that I had to sign a document that agreed to The Pearl Owners corporation to maintain the building. It also included ‘community rules’, insurance, and so on. (Wait a minute… I didn’t agree to any community rules… the tenants association should be the ones putting this together in the first place).

Now what annoyed me was how the letter started in explaining that they are appointed by the pearl. As if it’s a done deal. Wait a minute.. we don’t have a choice here? That means they could turn around at any time and say 1 million riyal service charge please.

In this case it had also said that I needed to pay 12,000 in maintanence fees for the year. (It’s a 1 bedroom apartment).

I didn’t hesitate in picking up the phone and contacting one of the property managers at The Pearl to ask about what was going on.

I first started off the phone call by saying that I was surprised by an email I got but before explaining what the email contained, I wanted to know if what I was about to explain was the norm and if the manager agreed with me.

Usually once an apartment is handed over, the developers maintain the property for the period of one year. This is to ensure that any issues with the building, common areas, and so on are taken care of (as it’s part of the snagging process). When reaching the end of the year, a tenants association is put together and they represent the tenants in the building. The tenants association is supposed to take tenders from different management companies and then select the one that would be the best to manage the property on behalf of the tenants.

Usually for at least three months, a maintenance fee is NOT paid. This is because tenants should not have to pay to repair a brand new building. I should also get a copy of what they propose, rules, how they calculate the charges etc..

The manager agreed. I then explained the contents of the email and what I was being asked to sign. He promised to look into this and get back to me.

Now once I hear back, I’ll post an update to this post so check back for more and in theĀ  mean-time, I recommend that you do NOT sign any documents committing to anything after hand-over.

I really do hope this isn’t a case of ‘Buy an apartment from the pearl, be forced to pay a company appointed by the pearl, pay whatever fees the pearl wants, and live by the pearl’s rules as well’.

Not really worth the price of sacrificing freedom in my opinion. This would be another example for why not to buy in Qatar at the moment if this is true… (I really do hope I’m wrong!)

We’re getting there!

So Dine Out Doha has been getting off to a great start and the reviews and comments are starting to come in! Exciting stuff!

If you haven’t been yet, click here for Dine Out Doha. Be sure to start rating, commenting, posting micro-reviews or even submitting your full fledged restaurant reviews too!

Now you’ll remember we launched what we called the Beta of I Love Qatar at http://beta.iloveqatar.net (it’s actually an alpha). We did something special which was taking the link live even though it was still being built! We did that so that people could watch the site come together! Now the great news is that we should be around 2 and half weeks away from completion!

What’s even more exciting is that we’re going to revealing the awesome new MyLife function as well as the new ILQ Originals which will host a great amount of original content too! We’ve got some great Qatari comics, Online videos, skits, and some stuff that’s under wraps for the moment too.

In the mean while, you can go ahead and sign in (or sign up) in the beta section of ILQ and play around by posting events in the new event section or even start posting in the new forums.

(Don’t worry, you won’t lose anything once we remove the ‘beta’ tag from it).

Anyway! That’s my update!

Freedom of Expression

    Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which the Qatari Government is a signatory of states: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any medias and regardless of any frontiers.

    The Emiri Decision Number 86 of the year 2007 on the establishment of the Doha Free Information Centre marked yet another step towards establishing a State of rights and freedom of speech. The decision stipulated that the Centre be a non-profit organization, headquartered in Doha City, and have the authority to establish other affiliated centres inside and outside Qatar. It is worth mentioning that His Highness the Emir issued a decision in 1998 annulling the ministry of information, giving birth to a new era of freedom of speech where censorship was removed from local media.